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More thoughts on the 10k

5 December, 2009

As today’s race is still on my mind, allow me to unburden myself a little further.

For me, the 10k is maybe the most grueling distance. The pace is close to that of a 5k, but it’s twice as long. That is self-evident, but what I find especially challenging — the essential difference for me — is the effort to maintain constant focus for the time it takes to run this race. It’s true that this applies for any race longer than 8k, but irrespective of how long the race is, the momentary lapse of concentration that occurs at 10k + distances is just that, a momentary lapse that invariably gives way to renewed and heightened concentration.

This is one of endless tricks the mind-body will play on this runner to prevent him from maintaining an all-out, suicide pace. Though it’s hard to say exactly, I believe that for me these reveries never last more than about a minute, and arrive just as the going gets tough. During a half marathon in the summer, I noticed that one kilometre stretch was about 10 seconds slower than the average, and it was during this time that I’d wandered off, mentally speaking. Of course, however long it lasts, assuming that it does only happen once, the effect on the final time will be more pronounced for shorter races, such as the 10k. Something to work on!

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