My church hosts an annual Boston Marathon Qualifier each year. The event also includes shorter distances such as half-marathon and 10k. You can also run a 5k, which is what I did. The event benefits local community organizations but also benefits the health of the community.
Every year, hundreds of people spend countless hours pounding the road to prepare for this race. This year was our first year. My wife signed us up months in advance. We both exercise frequently but we are by no means joggers. The 5k was a perfect distance for us.
Several weeks before the race I decided I should run a 5k to prepare. 10 minutes, and one mile later, I was in excrutiating pain. My hip was out of place and pinching a nerve in my back. After a trip to the doctor I was out of service for the next two weeks! I had to run a 5k in three weeks and here the doctor was telling me I couldn’t practice for 2 weeks! This is when I decided to figure out a way to run a 5k with only 1 week to prepare. Here is how to run a 5k this weekend:
Stretch – You’ll want to focus on your joints more than your muscles. Your hip-flexors and knees are a priority. This video does a good job of teaching you the stretches you need to do. Hold each stretch for 30 seconds. Repeat this routine every day.
Form – If you haven’t run much, your form probably sucks. If you’re like most people you take a long stride assuming the more you stretch out your leg the fewer steps you’ll take and less worn out you’ll feel. You’re wrong. When you stretch out you actually slow yourself down and use your smaller muscles. Your foot should fall just in front of you and you should land on the ball of your foot. Pull your foot up quickly toward your butt. This is a very short stride that utilizes your larger glutes and hamstrings.
Efficiency – The key to being able to run a 5k is an efficient stride that won’t wear you out. The goal is to maximize airtime. When you’re in the air your body is doing less work. Use a short stride and focus on moving your foot from the ground to your butt, don’t push your body along, pull it along.
Shock Treatment – To prepare my body to run a 5k I ran 20 minutes straight. Then I rested for 4 days before racing. The run shocked my body since it was such a unique thing. I hadn’t run that long in a while so my body assumed that it had better get ready in case it has to do it again. After 4 days of rest and recover, it was ready.
Playlist – You 5k playlist, when set up correctly, can power you though a race be setting the pace. Music is measured in beats per minute. Run time is measured in steps per minute. Sync your pace with my current 5k playlist and you’ll find it easier to keep up a grueling pace.
Carbs – to run a 5k you must have fuel. Start with slow burning carbs such as oatmeal a few hours before the race. 30 minutes before running digest a sugary carb such as Apple Sauce. Your body will need plenty of glycogen to prevent you from hitting the wall to early.
Just to prove I my method worked, my wife and I headed back to our alma mater to run a 5k in the hills. Most people who ran both events ran 1 minute slower in the hills. I posted the same time, without any running in between events. Check out my pre-race picture on ScottyDog’s Blog Here: http://scottydogreports.com/ The image is here: Texas State Homecoming 5k.
Why haven’t you run a 5k yet? How about this weekend?