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2410 Views 1 Reply Latest reply: Dec 23, 2010 6:44 PM by ColoCorredor
TCNewBalance Amateur 16 posts since
Sep 7, 2010
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Sep 7, 2010 9:33 AM

Tips for Your First 5K

1. Sign Up, Already

Chances are, no matter where you live, there’s a 5-K nearby soon. It’s the most popular race: 7,500-plus 5-Ks held in 2006    drew more than 3 million runners. Why? “It’s only three miles!” says    Mike Mahan of Tullahoma, Tennessee. Well, 3.1 miles, but so as long as    you’re logging three half-hour runs per week, you can complete a 5-K    this weekend, says Tommy Tomlo, fitness director for the Susan G.  Komen   National Race for the Cure in Washington, D.C., the nation’s  biggest  5-K  series. And you can run a fast 5-K with as little as six  weeks of   concentrated training.


2. Just Have Fun

“5-Ks  are a great way to meet people and stay in  good shape,” says  Lois  Wims of Mobile, Alabama. And they’re  newbie-friendly. “I was so  afraid  that the ‘real’ racers would be  annoyed with a novice,” says  Eileen  Doherty of Phoenix. “The opposite  was true! The local running group cheered me on.”


3. Use 5-Ks for Speed

Runners training for a longer event, like a half or full marathon, can use 5-Ks in place of speedwork,    says Teri Garzon of Ontario, California. “I run a 5-K almost every    weekend in the fall,” says Cara Hawkins of Jefferson City, Tennessee.    “It’s a good way to race into shape.” Mark Goldstein, 75, who has run    all 114 5-K Races for the Cure around the world, runs every other day  in   between events when he’s racing a lot. “I run a little slower than   race  pace and for about 20 to 25 minutes,” he says.

Here’s how Chuck Roose of Tampa trains and runs a 5-K (or other distance) every weekend:
SAT: 5-K race
SUN: Easy run, mid-distance
MON: Rest day
TUE: Speed session
WED: Easy run, longer distance, or rest day
THU: Speed session
FRI: Rest day or easy run with last half mile at race pace


4. Eat a Little (Maybe)

You  don’t need additional calories before you run a  5-K, but if  you’re  used to eating breakfast, you might feel hungry.  “Your body  needs some  calories to help you wake up and keep going, but  don’t  overdo it,”  says Sherri Abbassi of Gainesville, Virginia. “Just  half a  bagel with  peanut butter, half a banana, or gel/sports beans/shot   blocks is  enough.” Gabrielle Rubinstein, who hosts a running club out   of her  shop, Joe Coffee, in New York City, always has her cup of coffee.   “I  can’t get going without caffeine,” she says. Others prefer to wait   for  the postrace bash. “I see no reason to eat before a 5-K, as they  all   have real food afterward,” says Jill Merenda of Brooklyn.


5. Drink a Little (or Not)

It’s  telling that most 5-K races have only one aid  station, usually   located about midway. “That should be enough liquid for  you,” says   Abassi of Virginia. Steve Burns of Simsbury, Connecticut,  points out,   “Any water you take in during the race won’t affect your  performance   because the race is just too short.” Christian Taylor of New  Holland,   Pennsylvania, believes that stopping for water only slows you  down.   That said, if it’s hot out, grab a cup at the aid station. “Don’t   drink  the water, but splash it in your mouth or dump it on you,” Burns   says.


6. Warm Up Wisely

“A proper warmup will improve any performance,” says Jerry Cuellar, from Middleborro,    Massachusetts. He does a slow jog 15 minutes before the race, followed    by a few 50-yard sprints. Warm up on the racecourse itself. “You can    preview the race,” says Tim Guimond of Evanston, Illinois, and get a    handle on where the hills and turns are.


7. Cut Corners

Race  in the lightest running shoes that work for your foot type, says Andy  Clark of Morristown, New   Jersey. Studies show that if you lighten your  load by six ounces   (swapping training shoes for racing flats), you’ll  run one to two   percent faster. For a 24:00 5-K runner, that’s 14 to  28 seconds. “Don’t   neglect the benefits of drafting behind other  runners, especially if   you’re running into wind,” says Clark. “And run  the tangents–the   shortest distance between two points.” Think of  creative ways to   motivate yourself to go faster. “For every person  that passes me after   the one-mile marker, I tell myself I have to pass  two,” says Bob Kaufman   of Windsor, Wisconsin.


8. Take It Easy–At First

Even  though it’s short, it’s still possible to  start out too fast  and run  out of gas. “Your breathing pattern may get  messed up, and then  you  have to stop or walk to catch your breath,” says  Susan Harmeling,  race  director of the Gasparilla Distance Classic in  Tampa, one of the   largest 5-Ks in the United States. “Start out in the  middle or back of   the pack, force yourself to run slower, and wait for  that first mile   split to determine your race strategy,” says Kaufman of  Wisconsin. Jim   Dolan of Princeton, New Jersey, suggests “running  moderately fast at  a  pace that feels faster than your daily runs, but  not so fast that  you  feel that you’ll need to stop soon.”


9. Or Start Fast

“At  a recent race, I decided to start much stronger  than usual and  see if  I could hold on for the entire race. I beat my  previous PR by 59   seconds!” says Taylor of Pennsylvania, who ran 10 5-Ks  last year.   Starting fast helps you beat the pack in more than one way.  “You don’t   get trapped near the back,” says P.J. Van Beurden of Los  Osos,   California. “It takes a lot less energy to start fast than it does  to   weave in and out of people.”


10. Finish Strong and Celebrate!

“Once  the finish line is in sight, kick with  everything you’ve got  and  leave people in the dust,” says Van Beurden of  California. The  short,  concentrated amount of time and distance means  the race can be  over  before you know it. “If you finish using every drop  in the tank,”  says  James Vaughan of Twin Oaks, Oklahoma, “it doesn’t  matter if you’re   first or 200th, you’ve already won.” And then pat  yourself on the   back. “It is absolutely necessary to drink a pint of a  fine brew   afterward!” says Tom W., of Allston, Massachusetts. “What’s a  race   without a postrace party?”

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