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Competitive 5k strategy

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Author Topic:   Competitive 5k strategy
reagiesmom
Cool Runner
posted May-24-2006 06:54 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for reagiesmom     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
I have been placing in the top 4 women at local 5ks. Generally people beat me by passing late in the race. I run 6-8 minute miles, depending on the hills or lack thereof.

My question is, what is the best strategy- to go out fast and try to hang on to the lead or a good position, or to sit back and try to pass everyone later?

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Richard21142
Cool Runner
posted May-24-2006 09:26 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Richard21142     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
quote:
Originally posted by reagiesmom:
or a good position, or to sit back and try to pass everyone later?

This seems to be working for the runners that are passing you late in the race.

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NYCross
Cool Runner
posted May-24-2006 10:27 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for NYCross     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
The problem is probably less with your strategy on the day of the race and more that your training isn't geared enough toward endurance to keep your end of the race pace as fast or faster than the beginning. Do you keep splits so that you know if you're slowing down a lot in the last mile? If you're slowing, find your average pace per mile and in the next race, don't run your first mile faster than the average pace. Then you can gradually try to increase speed or maintain pace. If you don't have a good aerobic base, you need one. I don't know what your training is like, but maybe you're doing too much speedwork and not enough mileage and solid longer runs.

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rleugers
Cool Runner
posted May-24-2006 10:48 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for rleugers   Click Here to Email rleugers     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
I find that running a 5k well is almost a sprint for 3 miles. Endurance events for me consists of 2 parts: The physical conditioning to finish as well as the fortitude to push through the non-injury pain.

Lately I find that I have plenty of endurance for a 5k, but am learning how to live through every fiber in my body wanting to slow down and "take it easy".

The pain is not associated with injury but running hard and fast. I am always willing to slow or stop for an injury.

I have been using tempo runs to train my body AND mind to endure a fast 5k. I have also "gritted my teeth" and pushed, because you don't have to endure a 5k for very long.

In summary, my strategy is:

1. Go out as fast as I can and still finish the race.

2. Don't slow down significantly. (although I tend to have mini surges and backoffs in the middle miles). I don't have to endure the pain for long.

3. Kick at the end.

This strategy has dropped my 5k times by almost 2 minutes (from 23 minutes to 21 minutes) over the past 4 months!

I will be adding intervals to the training and hope to get to 20 minutes or less within the next 4 months.

[This message has been edited by rleugers (edited May-24-2006).]

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SportiGrl
Cool Runner
posted May-24-2006 10:53 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for SportiGrl     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
I tend to agree with Richard on this one .... since you are placing top 4 and being passed near the end then you have been going out as a front runner and that hasn't worked so well to this point if finishing a higher place is your goal ...

Aside from that, I'll offer this from what I've been doing for trying to reach my own race goals: I have been working towards some 5K and 10K goals myself this year and see that VO2Max and LT are near equally important for 5K racing ... so, if you're not already doing some faster paced intervals as part of your training schedule I'd add some ... I'm really liking 1200 x 5 at 5K pace myself ... I feel like it's more work and race appropriate for the 5K than doing 400 or 800 repeats ... I've also been doing either 10 x 100 or 8 x 200 once per week to work on basic speed for that kickin ... and at least once per week I kick in a longer training run ...


It sounds like you are a bit faster than me ... but I've had good results with this so far and met my goal for the year in my first race and now am setting my goal pace and interval repeat times a bit faster ...


good luck in winning outright really soon!

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reagiesmom
Cool Runner
posted May-25-2006 12:09 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for reagiesmom     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Thanks for your responses....

My training is mainly for the marathon distance but I run 5k's just because they are fun.... I do Yasso 800's at 3:30 once a week, and 400's in 90 seconds each once a week. The rest is easy/long running.

Maybe I should do some faster running to work on my kick..... I do mentally lose it near the end.... I start thinking.... second place is still good...... third place in still good..... LOL

ANy further advice is greatly appreciated....

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Richard21142
Cool Runner
posted May-25-2006 08:27 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Richard21142     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
quote:
Originally posted by reagiesmom:
ANy further advice is greatly appreciated.

You can do your daily runs with negative splits. Start out relaxed and allow youself to warmup. Then run the pace that feels comfortable for that day. At some point approaching the finish of your run, pick up the pace (the increase in pace can be subtle). You could do this with a mile to go or maybe only 800 meters. You will notice that when you pick up the pace, your form will change a bit. You will feel stronger and the run will get easier. This is what you have to experience in the late stages of your races.

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exciton
Cool Runner
posted May-25-2006 10:23 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for exciton     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Hows about pacing off of one of those runners who typically beat you? Meditate on the force of will before the race. Maybe you'll learn something about pacing and pushing.

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cliff202j
Cool Runner
posted May-25-2006 11:45 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for cliff202j   Click Here to Email cliff202j     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
You may want to consider adding a tempo run to your weekly training. I always schedule a tempo four days prior to a 5K or 10K race. The tempo run will increase both your strength and endurance on race day. The following is one way to structure your tempo workout:

20 Minute Warm Up
18-20 Minute Tempo @15K pace
10-20 Minute Cool Down

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PacerChris
Cool Runner
posted May-25-2006 02:03 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for PacerChris   Click Here to Email PacerChris     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
My training is more geared towards marathons as well but I want to improve my competitiveness in shorter races - not necessarily my times, but more my ability to kick and finish strong.

That said - here's my plan for my 5k this weekend. I'd like my finishing time to be under 18:00 so avg ~5:45. I want to go out in around 5:45 for the first mile, slow down a little in the second and kind of gather myself - maybe 5:50-6:00. Around the 15:00 mark, I'm going to start the drive - I know with marathon training I don't have sprint speed but I should be able to push myself very hard (~5:30 pace or better) for 3 stinking minutes. I should be able to pass some people in the end that way and anyone coming up on me is going to have to really kick hard. I could see myself being passed by someone I just passed but I hope to counteract that by going hard around someone when I pass instead of just easing by.

We'll see how it works - I have typically gone out too fast and then hold on the last mile but I often get passed like crazy. Hopefully this will work a little better and possibly lead to a PR!

------------------
Pacer Dude

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SportiGrl
Cool Runner
posted May-26-2006 01:58 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for SportiGrl     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
R'smom .... those mental games can wreak havoc ... why not change your focus to a specific time goal, or keeping a pace rather than placing a certain place ...

Since you already talk yourself into settling for 2nd -3rd-4th place why not just focus elsewhere entirely and have the place be icing?

My next race the main thing I plan to do is run a warmup on a bit of the reverse course ... to get a feeling of where the last mile will be and what landmarks I can focus on to time my push in ... something that helps me in training runs (and races, so far) is reminding myself how easy and short a distance I have to complete ... makes kicking in a piece of cake, really ... I just haven't really known where the finish was until I was only 200 or so yards away the first couple races I've done ... I'd have started picking up a lot at 600-800 at least if I knew where that was!


Now I look at the races from an 'I can' stand point ... not an 'I think I can' ... leave no room for doubt to creep in ... you've done the training and know you can, so run like it!

Good luck in any upcoming races!

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ramer1642
Cool Runner
posted May-27-2006 04:38 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for ramer1642     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
5k----
*12 minuet warm-up
*stretch, really good, hydrate a little
*15min before race, stride outs at 85% of sprint, this allows for all possible cappilaries in legs to be opend to allow max blood flow in legs
*At the gun, take off, not sprint but jockey a bit for a lead spot.
* Mile one is all consistancy, stick to your pace
* See a hill, go at it, never give a second of doubt, down-hill, open it up, stride out, if its flat, pace some unexpecting punk and ride them, only if they are pushing you though, dont tail a inconsistant fun-runner!
*mile.1 get it out, and about 800m before the finnish begin your kick, this helped me sooo much, i had a hard tim breaking 16:50 and doing this knocked me down to 16:42, then when you see that line, go get it, its yours and you own it... get the competitive, you see someone passing tail them! get focused get competitive, seek pain dont let it find you, go find it! ---Much luck and many good runs

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Sharyland Regio
Member
posted Oct-30-2007 08:33 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Sharyland Regio     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
well im a junior a sharyland high school.. and my PR is a 16:33 and im finding the way to break that stupid 16 in the regional meet.. this weekend.. so if ur going to san antonio region 4 5A watch out for Sharyland dude

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hermosaboy
Cool Runner
posted Oct-31-2007 07:00 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for hermosaboy   Click Here to Email hermosaboy     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
quote:
Originally posted by reagiesmom:
My question is, what is the best strategy- to go out fast and try to hang on to the lead or a good position, or to sit back and try to pass everyone later?

What is YOUR goal???

Fastest time possible or to beat the people that seem to pass you?

That is the determining factor...

I have a friend that LOVES to get out for the first mile WAY AHEAD of goal pace. He thinks that this is the only way to race.

When I catch and pass him (in all but one race) between mile 1 and 1.5, he is demoralized.

So, what are you trying to do? If you are trying to run your fastest race possible -- you should consider even to negative splits. If you are RACING to win -- you need to run based on your competitors.

If you have a big lead on them for 2 miles and then get out kicked -- they are sitting on you and you have control over that. If they run away from you at the start -- they are faster than you and you can't control that.

So, gotta look at your competition and what your true goals are...

Just my opinion -- I definitely COULD be wrong!!!

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obsessor
Cool Runner
posted Nov-01-2007 08:57 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for obsessor   Click Here to Email obsessor     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
quote:
Originally posted by Sharyland Regio:
well im a junior a sharyland high school.. and my PR is a 16:33 and im finding the way to break that stupid 16 in the regional meet.. this weekend.. so if ur going to san antonio region 4 5A watch out for Sharyland dude

That's one of the funniest posts I've read in a long time.

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fredurie
Cool Runner
posted Nov-01-2007 09:12 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for fredurie     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
quote:
Originally posted by reagiesmom:
I have been placing in the top 4 women at local 5ks. Generally people beat me by passing late in the race. I run 6-8 minute miles, depending on the hills or lack thereof.

My question is, what is the best strategy- to go out fast and try to hang on to the lead or a good position, or to sit back and try to pass everyone later?


You are running 400's at 5k race pace. Can you run 80 second 400's?

A. 3 sets of 4 times 400 with 1 minute recovery, 3 minutes between sets.
B. 3 times a mile, (6 minutes, 5:50, 5:40) with 3 minutes rest
C. 3 miles tempo @ 6:30 pace
D. 6 mile progression run with the last mile at 5:40-5:30

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hopper3011
Cool Runner
posted Nov-01-2007 10:38 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for hopper3011   Click Here to Email hopper3011     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
quote:
Originally posted by obsessor:
That's one of the funniest posts I've read in a long time.
It gave me a little chuckle too - then again perhaps the course is 3.1 miles downhill?

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obsessor
Cool Runner
posted Nov-01-2007 11:57 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for obsessor   Click Here to Email obsessor     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
quote:
Originally posted by hopper3011:
[QUOTE]Originally posted by obsessor:
[b] That's one of the funniest posts I've read in a long time.

It gave me a little chuckle too - then again perhaps the course is 3.1 miles downhill?

[/B][/QUOTE]

Ahhh, perhaps a 16-17 yr old lad can make that kind of improvement. It's just that it sounds like he's challenging a group who probably has a median age of somewhere between 2x and 2.5x his age. I'll accept his challenge if they let me compete.

Anyhow, for my money:

Without any improvements in fitness, go out behind one of these gals, and leech onto them. Always behind. Then outkick them. At least try it. DO NOT lead.

Then, go back and build a big aerobic base, work in hills, and before race season, a 4-5 week series with 12-16 x 200's @38~39 (guessing) jogging through and around the lap to recover. That's Wed. Friday or Saturday, start at 6, work to 8,9,or 10x800m at 3:16, SLOWEST. If you can do 12x400@90 sec, you should be able to do 6x800@3:10 w/400jogging rec. That you can't shows a chink in your armor and a definite weakness for the 5k distance. Those 800's need to be faster in relation to your 400's. It will come, with time and work. 3mi. warmup and cooldown for each of those workouts, and keep jogging between the repeats. The 200's will just be fun, help you with your kick, and make the slower 800m repeats seem slow. Then a long run on Sunday, fill it in with easy runs, take it easy for a week, and you will be sharp for 4-5 weeks of summer racing.

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Robertgo
Member
posted Nov-10-2007 05:50 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Robertgo     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
A study was conducted on whether to go out fast and hold on or hold back and kick at the end. The answer was go out fast and hold on. That was what I was doing beofre I read the survey. You can not make up the time in such a short race by holding back. Work on endurance to promote a faster finish but do not hold back.

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hermosaboy
Cool Runner
posted Nov-11-2007 03:51 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for hermosaboy   Click Here to Email hermosaboy     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
quote:
Originally posted by Robertgo:
You can not make up the time in such a short race by holding back.

This may be true, but it is amazing how many people you will pass if you can stay on it in the 2nd and 3rd mile!

If you go out too fast in the first mile, you are going to suffer afterwards. It's just a question of how much you push it at the start? This assumes that the course isn't flat the first mile and then hilly thereafter...

It's funny, since my son runs high school XC, I tend to analyze the splits (when they are available). In most races, ALL of the runners are running 15 seconds plus faster than their ending overall pace for the first mile. Then, if you look at the TEAMS that are winning the races, they are going out a bit more conservatively and passing people the whole way...

I actually have a picture from the state XC meet where the winning team has all 7 runners in the BACK of the pack 400M into the race.

Not sure what that means -- but I think it leans towards not being too aggressive.

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AndyHass
Cool Runner
posted Nov-11-2007 08:15 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for AndyHass   Click Here to Email AndyHass     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
quote:
Originally posted by Robertgo:
A study was conducted on whether to go out fast and hold on or hold back and kick at the end. The answer was go out fast and hold on. That was what I was doing beofre I read the survey. You can not make up the time in such a short race by holding back. Work on endurance to promote a faster finish but do not hold back.

The definition of "holding back" was either way too slow, or these people have zero experience running competitive 5Ks.

You can't fall a quarter mile behind, but blowing out of the gates 15sec faster than goal pace the first mile is going to cost you 30sec in the last mile. If you look at REAL competitive 5K races, and not some survey, you will see that they are run even to negative. I've NEVER gone out even to negative and had many people pass me at the end...usually going out faster than goal pace leads to losing a lot of spots in the last half mile.

My fastest 5K was a 15:18 that I ran for the second half of a 10K, the first half being 15:39. That's not a 5K but imagine how badly I would have faded if I'd opened with the 15:18.

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