The awesome moderators over at The Runner’s Lounge throw out a topic to a large community of bloggers/runners/writers every week. We runner/writers pool our collective knowledge and perspectives, answer the question, and link to it on their website.
This week’s question: What are your best tips for 5K and 10K races?
Great question, but I’m not sure how qualified I am to answer it. I haven’t competed in very many short races (no 5Ks in the last year) so I lack experience in prepping, choosing and participating in one. Long distance is more my thing. However, if you count my recent 10Kish trail races I suppose I have some insights.
General Reasons Why 5/10K races rock: They are addictive as hell. The whole process of choosing a race, getting up early on race day and toeing up at the starting line is invigorating. Racing in a 5 or 10K, no matter what your pace, can only help you to become a better runner. More importantly, completing them instills a sense of pride and accomplishment. You’re guaranteed to be a happier runner. After running a few local 5K races it’s only a matter of time before you’re a total addict. You’ll plan for more races, longer races and more intense training programs.
Tips and Thoughts for Great 5 and 10K races
1. Don’t eat too much the night before or the morning of the race. I seem to run my best shorter races just slightly hungry.
2. Use shorter races to build confidence for bigger races. 10k runs are slowly desensitizing me to the absolute terror I feel the hours (or days) leading up to a race. I can better manage pre-race anxiety… it hasn’t disappeared, but running in smaller races is definitely a help.
3. 5K and 10K races are appealing because they can be tucked into a training week without too much difficulty. You don’t need to taper, get crazy, or go to extremes like swearing off all alcohol and all sugary products for the four weeks prior to the race like I’ve done with marathons.
4. My absolute favorite part about short races is that you can do them locally and lure someone you care about (parents, friends, devoted and supportive significant others) to attend. Afterwards, when you’re all done racing, you can have a gigantic breakfast. I won’t lie. Sometimes the post-race breakfast holds just as much appeal as the race itself!