short/long race distances .. ?

As a beginner I'm not sure if this is a naive question.

Basically are the races that I find on this site likely to be well measured? If I enter a 10k am I going to actually run 10k?

The reason I ask is that I ran my second ever 10k very recently. I clocked a PB of 42.42.

In my first ever 10k I ran 46.40.

Training for these I had a target of 45.00 in mind. I'd spent several months running.

Often I train in a gym and whilst I can run a 5k fairly comfortably in 22.30 on a treadmill - a 21.20 is really hard work. I somehow can't imagine that I ran two of those back to back and didn't even feel I was particularly pushing myself.

In fact I completed the first 'half' of my recent 42.42 10k in about 20.45 which I've only ever come close to on a treadmill about a year ago when I was 3Kg lighter.

So, what do you think? Was the recent 10k a bit short? (My personal favourite theory.)
Or what?

Interested to know any experiences. Particularly perhaps from anyone running with one of those cool gadgets (GPS or shoe sensor) that measures how far you have run.

I am deliberately not mentioning either of the races at this point as I'm not sure that would be good etiquette. If it /would/ be ok, do let me know and I'll post them.



  • Race distances are sometimes wrong.

    Usually if they are meant to be accurate there is something on the literature about the distance having been certified.

    Unless a race is measured incorrectly, it is more likely to be further than stated for the individual, because you don't always take the best line.

    My garmin is usually no more than 0.2 of a mile in excess of the official distance, but it doesn't like buildings or trees.
  • It would be fine to name the races (IMHO) - asking about accuracy of distance is a common question, and others may have also run those races and be able to comment on their race time vs. expected time.

    Running outside and in a race *can* be faster than training and/or treadmill. Race adrenaline, having other runners to focus on as targets etc can push you along.

    Well done on the times anyway :-)
  • Thanks for the feedback so far. Much appreciated.

    The first race was the British 10K London Run on Sunday, 2 July 2006.

    The second race was the Self Transcendence 10K in Battersea Park on Saturday, 29 July 2006.

    As indicated in my original post absolutely /no/ criticism of the respective race organisers intended. I enjoyed both events very much.

    Any further thoughts?
  • My 5km PB is just over half my 10km PB, mainly becuase I over-egg my 5km races and blow up.

    At the British 10k you were unlikley to be able to run a steady pace with all the other runners there, I should imagine you had a much more strightforward run at the ST race.
  • Both the races you mention are included in the UK rankings, which would imply they are certified courses. I have no reason to suspect otherwise.

    It's amazing how much faster you can run with a bit of adreneline! Enter a 5km and you might surprise yourself...
  • PhilPubPhilPub ✭✭✭
    Maybe it's just the difference between running on a treadmill and running on the road? I've never really pushed myself on the treadmill but generally I find the same speed seems easier on the road.

    I'm doing the Nike 10k in October, and yesterday evening I did a 10k route in 44.00, so I'll be going after something like your PB for the race! :)
  • i cant run anywhere near as quick on a treadmill as i can on the road. I think that it is to do with stride length's, as i can never seem to get into the same comfotable stride length on a treadmill as i do on the road.

    the adrenaline is also a major factor, you do tend to run quicker, especially in the early stages at races compared to training.
  • Thanks for the feedback and support people. Plenty of useful information there.

    James - ".. in the UK Rankings which would imply they are certified .." - where can I find out more about that online? I've got my next couple of 10k races lined up and it would be interesting to check if they are certified too.

    Wolf - " .. stride lengths .. on a treadmill .." - Yes, that's a good point. I have noticed that my style gets more relaxed on the road. I think on a treadmill there is always the psychological factor of being worried about falling off the back if you don't take another stride soon. (I've not actually done it /yet/ ;)

    Adrenaline is definitely a factor too. In both races my early pace was so fast that I consciously slowed it so as not too crash and burn. But, /some/ adrenaline fuelled enthusiasm is definitely a positive thing.

    Thanks again to you all. I'm reassured that I can take satisfaction from my times. Here's to our next PBs.
  • Cicero - sometimes it will say on the entry form that it is a certified race, or if not you can always just ask the organiser...

    Also, you can measure the course yourself using (or, which is very accurate if you zoom in close enough and place a large number of measuring points (although, for off-road sections, some areas of the country have better resolution satellite photography than others).
  • they always move the finish line. i see it, but it takes ages to get there ;o)
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