Community: Exchange advice in the forums and read running commentary Resources: Personal running log, calculators, links and other tools for runners News: Running news from around the world Training: Articles and advice about fitness, race training and injury prevention Races/Results: Find upcoming races and past results Home: The Cool Running homepage

Cool Running homepage
discussion forumsviewpoint
| > rules | > faq | > e-mail to a friend | moderator: sue, Warrior1971

5k Race Strategy

Post a new topic    
> next newest topic | > next oldest topic
Author Topic:   5k Race Strategy
posted Jul-20-2007 04:50 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for mike81611     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
I'm a former bike racer who has gotten into running over the last year. I'm 41 years old. I've run four 5ks in the last few months and have finished them all between 18:17 and 18:36. My average pace for the last 5k was 5:55/mile. I tend to do the first mile in about 5:40, the second just under 6:00 and slightly slower for the last 1.1miles. Is this an ok way to do a 5k. I basically go out fast and try to hold on. I'm afraid that without that much experience, my sense of pace is not very good--so I use a heart rate of 171 as my guide. Any tips, strategy, help would be much appreciated. I'd love to break 18:00. Thanks


IP: Logged

Brian McN
Cool Runner
posted Jul-20-2007 06:36 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Brian McN   Click Here to Email Brian McN     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
The great thing about 5k's is if you mess up you don't beat yourself up very much and there will be another one you can run within a week or two.
Some runners do better going out hard and trying to hold on. But most runners do better if they leave a little in the tank for later in the race. The hard part is doing this for a 5k because it is a short race and there is pressure to get out there quickly.
So give this a try. In your next 5k look at it as strictly an experiment. My advice is to pick one outside of your area where you don't have to battle your usual competition. Run the first mile at 5:55. Try to maintain this for your 2nd mile. This is tough because in the first half mile my guess is that your hitting the 1/2 mile at around 5:25 pace even though your first mile ends up at 5:40. The third mile let it all hang out.
In this sense you are building into your race. Give this a try to see if it works for you. If it does than work towards your sub 18 with that same strategy in mind.

IP: Logged

Cool Runner
posted Jul-20-2007 06:48 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for kestrou   Click Here to Email kestrou     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Or... you could go with MY strategy, which is "Run the first mile as hard as you can, and then don't let anybody pass you!"

Sometimes that actually works. Sometimes...


IP: Logged

Dakota Ridgerunner
Cool Runner
posted Jul-20-2007 07:32 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Dakota Ridgerunner     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
The problem with using heart rate as a guide is that it probably takes you most of the first mile to even reach 171, even though you are obviously running faster than your average pace during that time. That's because heart rate is not the best indicator of effort or power output. It takes time, even at maximum effort, to reach your max heart rate.

To be scientific about it, you need to experiment. You already know how fast you can run a 5k with one strategy (running the first mile at 5:40). Now do one where you hit the first mile in 5:55. See what happens after that...

But beware: it could be difficult to actually implement the above strategy. I always seem to run the first mile too fast, even though I'm telling myself, "Don't run the first mile too fast!" With more experience at the 5k distance, I think I will be able to do it, though.

IP: Logged

Cool Runner
posted Jul-21-2007 09:40 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Docster     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
I agree with Dakota. I train with a HRM on every run, but during a 5K I toss the heart rate out of the window. I don't even pay attention to it.

However, during a half/full marathon, I definitely keep an eye on it. If I'm at 175 HR 5 miles into a marathon, I'm in trouble. At mile 20, however, that's pretty much a sign that my pacing has been good.

IP: Logged

Cool Runner
posted Jul-21-2007 09:45 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for runninirish   Click Here to Email runninirish     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Your best race would be even to negative splits...that is if your going to average 5:55 a 5:55 race and then have some left to finish strong (giving you a negative split)...besides being the best strategy for the body (not trying to finish a race on your last breathe) there is a huge mental advantage to passing others who have gone out too fast...that is itself can lead to more confidence and a stronger finish...

"Fortitudine vincimus"

IP: Logged

Cool Runner
posted Jul-24-2007 03:47 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for obsessor   Click Here to Email obsessor     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Well, to sneak under 18 minutes you will be running at 5:47/mile, average. So 5:40 ... it's not that far off. If we say you are already in good enough shape, then you should go to the track and do some pacing work, ditch the HRM, and hone in on that specific pace. A 5:50 first mile would be ideal.

You have not been racing long. It will come. The sense of pace will come, and more importantly, the sense of the effort. How is the rest of the training? That's more important. You'll get under 18. Why not train to get under 17? Why not 16?

In the end, I would say that's my 5k "strategy", too. Go out hard and hold it. I've run 30+ of them in the last 4 years. I have not been passed during a race in quite some time, so I know I am doing something right. By far, it's my most inconsistent distance. It's a tough distance. Well, they are all as tough as you make them.

If you have a guy who regularly passes you later in the race... tack onto his back next time, and pass HIM late in the race. You'll learn something.

IP: Logged

Cool Runner
posted Jul-24-2007 07:09 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for OldXCguy     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
For a lengthy discussion of this topic see:

IP: Logged

All times are Eastern Time (US). > next newest topic | > next oldest topic
Post a new topic    
Administrative Options: > Close Topic | > Archive/Move | > Delete Topic

Hop to:  
Powered by Infopop © 2000
Ultimate Bulletin Board 5.47d

race directors shop my profile
Sponsored By

© 2016 Active Network, LLC and/or its affiliates and licensors. All rights reserved.
About Us | Advertising | Terms of Use | Copyright Policy | Cookie Policy | Security | Your Privacy Rights | Support
Cool Running Facebook Facebook | Cool Running Twitter Twitter | Newsletter Subscription
Race Directors | Running Events | Race Results | Running Tips | Pace Calculator | Couch to 5K | Running Forum | Running News