Race Day Tactics
You also want to take a look at the tactical side of racing a 5K. Aspects such as running the tangents better, proper pacing and strengthening your mind can make a huge difference in your 5K finish time.
- Run the tangents better
You can run your fastest 5K ever, but still end up with a slower time. How is that possible? Running even just .10 mile extra (3.2 instead of 3.1) could cost you 30-plus seconds extra on your official time. The better you run the tangents, the less mileage you will run and, therefore, the less time you will be running. Aim to cut the corners as closely as possible while looking for the shortest route in between the curves.
- Perfect Your Pacing
Even if you follow everything in this article, you can sabotage all of your hard work by starting too fast on race day. You trained for a certain pace; trust it. You will show up to the start line with freshly tapered legs, and the pace will feel easy when you start. Don't give in. Trust your training, stick to your goal pace and save energy for the last portion of the race.
- The Mental Game
A 5K can hurt — there's no way around that — and you will find that your mind will want to quit long before your body does. As the race progresses, your lungs will be burning and lactic acid will be telling your legs to slow down. Thoughts of quitting or easing up the pace start to take over. Prepare yourself to quiet the negative thoughts when they begin to creep in during the last half of a 5K.