Run Your Fastest 5K

Every runner remembers their first long-distance race and the feeling of victory and achievement when the finish line was finally just steps away. But do you remember where you were when you ran your fastest 5K?

For many southern California runners--and 16 world record holders--the answer is most definitely "at the Carlsbad 5000."

Since 1986, tens of thousands of runners and walkers have flocked to the Village of Carlsbad to toe the starting line on Grand Avenue and then run along the flat 3.1-mile course. They whisk by the Pacific Ocean before turning down Carlsbad Village Drive for a downhill race to the finish with thousands of spectators cheering them on.

In the past ten years, the 5K may have given way to the more popular marathon and half-marathon endurance events, but don't let that fool you. The Carlsbad 5000 still draws the crowds as the World's Fastest 5K and site of the legendary post-race Party by the Sea.

Train to run your fastest 5K

"If you really want to run a good 5K," Carlsbad champion and so-called Mr. Carlsbad 5000 Steve Scott suggests, "you need to devote four to six weeks to some form of interval training." Whatever you do, Scott pleads, "don't expect to do anything in a race unless you've done it in practice."

When training for a fast 5K you need to "up your tempo," he advises. "Once a week, you need to start preparing yourself to run at a faster tempo, and 400-meter distances are a great start."

Scott suggests starting with four to six 800-meter runs, with equal recovery for the time it takes you to run. But in reality, "you want to stretch it out so that you're running half-mile to one-mile intervals at your goal pace." However, don't let your total volume exceed more than three miles.

"You should work up to mile repeats at your new, faster tempo, but as you get closer to the race, drop back to running some 400-meter distances during race week. The farther the interval that you run," says Scott, "the more true the pace that you will run in the race."

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