Can you hit the wall in a 10K? Absolutely! Hitting the wall can happen anywhere if you mismanage your pace and burn up your energy stores too soon.
To be able to BEAT THE WALL you have to Understand the Nature of the Beast.
Psychology of Sport and Exercise (vol.9.issue 2. March 2008) published an abstract from Springfield College which identified the 2 main characteristics of the Wall Phenomenon as being Physical Fatigue and Cognitive and Motivational stresses. Another interesting discovery made, was that a larger number of the 43% of the study participants who reported hitting the wall, were male.
Fatigue and cramping are caused by your running form, dehydration and exhausted energy stores.
Dehydration is best regulated with fluids. Timely intake of nutritional supplements to control your glycogen stores are important too. Where as focusing on your running form and arm swing technique can take the mind off the pain and the nagging voice in your head.
Cognitive and Motivational Stressors
Shifting your focus to struggling and resisting the urge to stop running and start walking or worse, quit all together, are often caused by a loss of motivation.
This is best dealt with mental re-framing and self-talk. Breaking the run into mentally manageable chunks or sections and setting goals for each section instead of focusing on the pain is also incredibly useful. I break up my races into sections and set pacing goals, as in sticking with the people that I am running with and running down people ahead of me if possible.
Tilman von der Linde, RMT.
Muscles in Motion – Vancouver