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Monday, January 7, 2019

2019 races - is it time for the 5k?!

You might not  I think I am ready to focus on the 5K given my current racing schedule: the only two races I’m registered for in 2019 are both marathons. I had Boston on the books already, but I also registered for Rock and Roll New Orleans in February, taking advantage of a last-minute deal that got me registration for about $50. 

 But after that? Maybe it’s time to look at some shorter distances.  Historically, I have treated 5ks as extras on my training schedule, throwing them in when I had to, but never enjoying them. I also don’t think I’ve ever really executed one well. And I certainly haven’t trained specifically for the 5k distance! Why? I don’t know.  Probably it is a combination of really not knowing what I’m doing, and feeling as if I am better at longer distances.  But 2018 made me question that latter statement. In 2018 I ran a mile PR of 5:38 on a challenging, hot and wet day - and my fastest marathon was a disappointing 3:09. Plugging numbers into various equivalent race charts tells me that my mile time was significantly better than my marathon time, comparatively. Maybe I’m not all distance, all the time!
If I do try to secure a 5k PR,  I foresee a few challenges.  For one thing, I am still pretty unsure of myself at this distance. I know what I should be capable of running, and I am off by about a minute!  I have no idea what training to complete to bridge that gap. I can always look up a 5K training plan, but many of those seem geared toward beginners, or runners with lower mileage, such as highschoolers. I’m not sure I’ll even recognize a quality plan when I see one: should I be doing 4x800? 12 x 400? I have no idea! 
Finding a good race won’t be easy, either.  I have both marathons scheduled in the spring, and after Boston in April, New Orleans will already be hot.  There are some good local options in the fall, but I’m not sure if I will already be back in marathon training at that point. I don’t know my winter race schedule yet. I’ll probably have to go with a spring race and just hope I’ve already acclimated to the heat, or get some miracle weather under 80. I’m on the lookout for good races now! 
I’ve also heard that the best 5k training is running 5ks, too - so that’s another thought. Maybe I should just register for a bunch of races! 
Did you ever train specifically for a 5k? How? What was your training like leading up to a PR? 


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  3. The benefit to 5K's is that they are usually less expensive than longer distance races and you can easily register for several and use trial and error. Then based on your experiences you could create your own training plan to share. For me the course has a lot to do with my time. This area has hills and a "hilly" course generally means a slower time for me.

  4. I hope someone has good advice on training for a 5k. I feel like running groups are geared towards training for longer distances - but you run with some really talented people so hopefully someone in the power milers group can point you in the right direction. The 5k is actually my least favorite distance. I just suck at running fast! 10k or 1/2 marathon is probably my best distance!

  5. FWIW, when my goal races this past fall were 5Ks, my speed workouts involved a LOT of 200m /200m jog intervals (though, apparently, you aren't supposed to all-out sprint them) with later workouts being two sets of 200m with 2-3 miles of marathon/AT pace in between, and a lot of mile repeats, and sometimes a bunch of 5:00 @ 5K pace intervals. The tempo/threshold days were pretty much exactly what you would do for any other distance (threshold/HM pace miles starting with 2 mile intervals & working up to ~6ish miles straight). Although I rarely actually hit the mileage this time around due to injuries, travel, etc., that plan was theoretically in the 40-60 miles/week range.

  6. I'm excited to see you training for the 5K distance! When I was doing this kind of training, my coach had me doing sprint intervals. So think 200's and 400's with more recovery time than you'd get in marathon training but sprinting them close to all out. Alternating running 100 meters hard/easy is another good one.