I am a beginner. A slow one. I've been doing Cto5K until week 6. Then, just started trying to run for 20 minutes straight and my intention is to increase time until I'm doing 30 minutes straight somewhat comfortably. Anyway, I'm hoping to do a 5K race the day before Labor Day. My only goal (so I'm saying) is to finish it (w/out walking breaks); even if it takes me all day. I'm very proud of where I've come thus far because I could barely get through week 1 when I started out. Even though I am only expecting to finish the race, I took a look at the times for last year's race and the last on the list had a time of 37 minutes. I went running yesterday and timed myself and did about a mile and a half in 20 minutes. At that rate, that's about 40 minutes for a 5K; that's IF I can even run that long. Can you say L-O-S-E-R? I'm beginning to think I cannot realistically do it. Labor Day isn't that far away and I really want to accomplish this goal. What do you all think?
Shooting for a Labor Day 5K and just want to finish.
First of all, congratulations on your first 5k!! You should commend yourself for committing to this. I think you need to decide what you true goal is for this race. Is it really just to run the whole thing? Or do you have a certain number in mind for what time you would like to finish? Aiming to run the entire distance is a very realistic benchmark, and one that you will achieve if you stick to your training plan. Time should not be the goal for your first race. If you try to measure your progress against other runners' times, you may be setting yourself up for disappointment. Be competitive within yourself. Keep yourself motivated by running 30-90 seconds longer on each training run. This will keep you focused on the real goal - learning to run. Each week you train will make you stronger and fitter than the one before. Speed will come with practice. Enjoy the race and give yourself some kudos for all your hard work!
5K - NYC Race for the Cure, 2010 (28:10)
Washington DC National Half Marathon, 3/26/2011 (2:25:30)
Fairfield CT Road Race (Half Marathon) 6/25/11
One thing to keep in mind whenever you run a race of any distance is that you aren't running against any of the other runners, you are racing yourself and time, the other runners are there to push/pull you along. All that matters is that you do your best to reach your personal goals, so last years race times shouldn't even matter to you. You should be running for yourself, not them. Just go out there, push yourself and give father time HELL!
Good luck and GO GET IT!
"WITHOUT STRUGGLE, THERE WOULD BE NO PROGRESS" - Frederick Douglass
"TOUGH TIMES NEVER LAST, TOUGH PEOPLE DO!"
Of course you can do it. Realiistically, the only expectation you should have for your first race is to finish. Anything else is a bonus. You have to look at it as a learning experience. You don't know how you'll run in a race - typically you'll run somewhat faster than your training pace. My only goal in my first race was to survive (and there was a brief moment when I wasn't sure I would*). And I ran faster than I thought I knew how. So absolutely you should run the race. And if you finish last, you have something to shoot for. And know that a 5K with 37:00 for last place is a fairly fast crowd.
* The race was a 10K and I had never run more than 4 miles before. The course ran across a concrete footbridge around mile 5. When I got halfway across, everything started to shake. I thought, "Oh boy, this is it." When I got off the bridge, I realized it had been vibrating in time to the runners' feet.
No, your expectations are not too high! But I will comment that a 5K race where the last runner's time is 37:00 is not typical. Or I guess I should say its not typical of a community type race that is for fun and/or maybe to raise money for a cause. Those kinds of races have runners and walkers of all abilities and MANY of them will come in much slower than 37:00. At 40:00 you would be in good company. I'm guessing the race you have chosen tends to be a little more on the competitive side - probably sponsored by a track club or something. Not to discourage you, but if you want to race in an environment that will be a little less intimidating you might want to look for another race. Example: if the race has a cutesy holiday theme (the "Turkey Trot") or is put on by a local school or charity then it is probably a more beginner friendly race.
Even if you do this more competitive race, then just focus on doing your best and don't worry about whether you come in last. Chances are you will surprise yourself and do better than your normal training runs, but even so you aren't running against anyone but yourself. Your first race is a guaranteed PR no matter what!
Have you thought about giving yourself walk breaks to recover. I was working my way through couch to 5k and kinda modified it for my needs now... I do runs with walk breaks... I could run more... but those walk breaks allow me to keep my pace up and my runs fresh... just something to consider!
Started: July 2010 at 273#
Fox Cities 5K on 9/17: 45:19 (264#)
Shake a Tail Feather 5K on 10/16: 45:09 (254#)
Hope Run for Africa 5K on 10/23: 42:45 (248#)
Jingle Bell Run 5K on 11/6/10: 44:20 (248#)
Turkey Trot 5 mile on 11/25/10: (246#)
Miami ING Half Marathon 3:23:56
Oshkosh Half Marathon 3:16:38 (PR)
Cellcom Half Marathon in GB (horridly windy race) 3:21:56 (244#)
My first 5K - I did in about 50 minutes and they were many after me; some over 60 minutes. Some races are just faster than others; I also look to see times because I didn't want to be the slowest but I am planning on doing a 10k that the slowest times are 90 minutes and right now it would take me longer than that but I am still training.
There is no such thing as a L-O-S-E-R when they accomplish what they set out to in the end; regardless of how long it takes them. The point of any race is to finish, so I say I'm with the latest "one more mile" slogan and ditto it here to say "FINISHING= WINNING". I bet you dimes to doughnuts you are nearly guaranteed not to be the last to finish. WHO CARES how long it takes you. Not everyone is speedy!! If the world were full of Pre's it would be a dull world indeed. Setting a goal is great- so go ahead and set yourself one- if you don't get there on your first try, follow my Grandma's sage advice "If at first you don't succeed, try try again."