Tips for 5k Races & Brian Kraft 5k Recap

Monday of Memorial Day USATF puts on a super competitive 5k in Minnesota called “Brian Kraft 5k” every year. My husband has done this race 6 times. This was my 3rd time running the course. It is super flat & “fast” running around lake Nakomis in south Minneapolis. The worst part about this race is the humidity and the risk of getting sucked out too fast!


 the day before I started my first “big girl job” & invited my older brother to come run this as his first ever road race

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2014- did not run

I ran my first 50k 2 days before, so I did not run the 5k. I did show up and support my friends running! 

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I had ran a half marathon 2 days before, and I decided to sign up 30 min before the race started to support the LifeTime Race Team

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Coming off a 61 mile week, I did race day registation again running a 19:40. I promised to pace my friend Adrian to his first sub 20! He ended up running a 19:51!! YAY! We ran a 6:20 first mile (3:12/3:08 split). I thought I could maintain that 6:15 pace, but I was slighly wrong-o 🙂 

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Tips for 5k Racing

1- Do some speed workouts leading up to the race

Many long distance runners like to get “comfortable” with the easy runs and the longer tempos. Racing short distance is very different than racing a marathon. I like to do shorter interval work before a 5k-10k to wake up my legs and “remember” how to push myself running fast.

5 days before Brian Kraft I ran 6 x 800 on the road (.5 miles) at about 6:18 average. This is a really good workout to see what kind of 5k-10k shape you are in. I did 1-3 min rest/jog between.

There are a ton of more specific 5k workouts you can find online with a quick google search 🙂

2- Get in the right mindset

This is going to hurt. A LOT. Especially the last 1.6 miles. If you are used to running longer distance races, you are used to being comfortable for a good part of your “race”. A 5k requires stretching out of your comfort zone within the first few min of the race. You will need to prepare yourself for this mentally.

3- Don’t go out too fast

The reverse of #2 is being careful. There is NOT  a lot of room for error if you go out too fast in a 5k. I recommend doing a workout (as mentioned in #1) and coming up with a game plan for pacing in your 5k based on how your workout goes. Make sure you do not run the first 800 too fast especially in a big race if you get “sucked out” it’s hard to slow down with a lot of people around you 🙂 I like to place myself pretty far back in the line so I can pick off runners as I go.

4- Warm up & cool down

Since these races are short & require you to go fast right out of the gate, it is important to get your body warmed up for the action. If you are running 35+ miles per week 1-2 miles is a good warm up. Don’t over do it on the warm up. Keep the pace easy. Maybe do a few “strides” or a pickup at the end of the run. Save most of it for the race 🙂 Don’t sit around after the warm up- stay lose and walking around!

5- Have Fun

Last but not least- don’t take yourself so seriously. It’s hard to run! It should be challenging, but it should also be rewarding and kinda fun! Enjoy the race atmosphere and use it to push you 🙂 !


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