#runOTTchat Shorter Distances
Q1: Not everyone starts with the marathon (obviously). What distance was your very first race?
At the time I was just getting used to running 5-8K regularly so I took the challenge to make my first race a 10K. Going a bit further while running for a finish line was very satisfying.
Q2: If someone is a total beginner to running, how much training should they do before attempting a 5 or 10K race?
There should be some work up even to a 5K. A "Couch to 5K" app is an excellent way to work up to a race day. Most programs will take about a month if starting from scratch.
Q3: It's a week before your first 5K or 10K. What should you be doing?
Start to ease up, a week out do the full distance a bit slow and in the days before shorter distances. You can opt to run one shorter fast run two days out and a slower short run or walk the day before.
Q4: What are some recommendations for pre-race warmups for short distances races?
Leg swings forward and back, side to side, to open hips. Toe lifts for calves and mild stretches for upper legs. Don't over stretch you want some tension in your body if you are running for speed.
Q5: Any tips for navigating race day?
Be prepared the night before, get everything together and plan to be a early. The bigger the race the more chance that parking and traffic will be an issue. Find your corral or place along the start line and start to warm up. Plan a location to meet family and friends after the race. If you aren't sure about which corral to pick choose one that is faster than you expect and start further back in it.
Q6: What do you think are some common misconceptions about short races?
That they are easy or not challenging. Depending on the course, weather and number of people even a 5K will seem like a long way to go if you aren't prepared. They are also competitive be honest about where you start the race you don't want to be blocked by slower runners or be the one blocking.
Q7: How does your training differ for a short distance vs. a marathon?
Shorter races are about maximun effort over a shorter period, the training means more intervals, speedwork and high cardio efforts. Longer distances are about steady sustaned endurance, unless chasing a BQ or other record your time goals will set the tone. Training invloves longer slower runs mixed with shorter faster ones. Many apps offer great guided programs for each.
Q8: What does your pacing strategy look like for a short distance race?
It is often advised not to go too fast off the start line, this can be really hard with the excitment of the day. I try to get going at a bit less than maximum effort for the first third, settle into a steady turnover for the middle and build reserve preparing to go as fast as I can in the last third with a full sprint to the finish if chasing a time.
Q9: Hydration is key for any race. How does it differ during short race vs. marathon?
For a 5K race unless it's extremely hot out then taking anyhing should be kept to a mimuium, once is probably enough but none is better if you are chasing down a time or goal. The same can be said for the 10K too, heat will be a factor but don't over hydrate. Too much water in your system is not going to make running easier. Consider dumping water on your head and taking a drink at the halfway. In longer races you need more rigor in your plan to keep hydrated and nutrition up. It's different for everyone but I look to water and gel about every 8KM.
Q10: What's your favourite post-race reward?
I like knowing it's done and hopfully being happy about the time I ran, if there is a medal that's always a nice token of your day. Getting to a hot shower and some great food is always high on the list of winding down.