There is so much focus on the marathon and half marathon for training and pacing. The shorter distances are just as challenging to navigate! In college, many athletes focus on the 5k and 10k events. Some of our coach’s experience is working specifically with college athletes at these shorter distance events, and we want to share some of their advice with you!
1- GET IN THE RIGHT MINDSET!
If you just came off marathon or half marathon training, this is going to be a big change of gears. Instead of racing over 1.5-5+ hours, you will be racing for less than 30 min. Racing a 5k will be a more aggressive. Do you think tempo runs are hard? We want you pushing much harder than that! You won’t be spending much time in the comfort zone! The best part is that it is over quickly. Prepare yourself mentally for the differences! In a marathon, we want you to be comfortable for the majority of the race. In a 5k, you are going to be uncomfortable for the majority of the race. Do not be afraid if you start to feel tired half way through. You should really have to fight the final mile.
2- DO NOT SKIP THE WARM UP!
Ever arrive at a race and see some runners running BEFORE the race even starts? We want that person to be you!
Because the race is done at a much more aggressive pace than a marathon or half marathon, the warm up becomes even more important than every before! Remember- just a light 5-10 min warm up at 2-3 min per mile slower than goal race pace can help your body.
Warming up prepares your body for the hard work ahead and helps prevent injury. You warm up before a workout, so let’s make sure you do it before your race! You will not tire yourself out. Your body needs a chance to warm up for the event ahead. We recommend starting your warm up gradually with dynamic stretching and walking the move into light jogging.
3- INCORPORATE STRIDES
After your warm up or on the days leading up to your race, incorporating strides helps to wake up your muscles and zone into a faster pace. 4x 20 seconds FAST with a full 90 seconds walk or standing rest between! You can read more about how to incorporate strides and their benefits here
4-PUT A SPEED LIMIT ON YOUR FIRST 800 METERS!
You have heard it a million times: Don’t go out too fast. It’s still important in the short distance races! Use your watch. Keep yourself in check especially those first 2-4 min of the race.
What would be the time you could run 1 mile as fast as you can in? You can add 30 seconds per mile to that time and that can be your speed limit! It’s a good rule of thumb. Each athlete is different. You do NOT want to go out too fast.
5- PACE EVENLY
The first 4-8 min of the race, most athletes push TOO HARD. Then, during the middle of the race, they can sometimes slide back into our comfort zone.
This is NOT what you want to do. We want you to STAY FOCUSED in the mile you are in and pace evenly.
After 1 mile- Get uncomfortable and sit in the discomfort. Maintain the energy. Do NOT slide back into your comfort zone. This is NOT a tempo run! This is a race! At some point during the second half of the race you HAVE TO BE FEARLESS and lay it all out there 🙌🏻You can do it!
6- FINISH STRONG & LAY IT ALL OUT THERE
With 800 meters to go, you should be deep in the pain cave of the race. Instead of focusing on your suffering: FIND PEOPLE TO PASS! This is your time to push! Do NOT look at your watch- it’s a waste of energy: focus all your energy on moving forward as FAST as possible. Keep your mind focused on the task. Keep deep and finish with nothing left! YOU DID IT