Monday, February 6, 2012

Super 5k Pt. 2 - Lessons

My previous post had (way too much) detail about my 5k race. This one will go over things that I learned, things that I did right or wrong in my first race of the year. Races are important to me for several reasons. First, I like to compete. Kids play games and compete all the time, but the grownups don't get to do that nearly as much. Also, I tend to try my best during a race, where in training, that isn't always the goal. The "game" is always more fun than practice. Finally, races tend to tell me where I'm at. The good thing about running as compared to many other sports is that the clock gives you a pretty definitive picture of your performance. Courses may vary, but 5k on one road course is likely to be close to another.

I like this song and it is called Lessons, so here it is!

Here is what I did well for this race:

1. Rest - I didn't do much training in the couple days prior to the race (partially due to schedule and partially by choice). I could have done some treadmill work, but since I couldn't get out and really run, I opted to rest up. I also went to bed early and got some good sleep.

2. Pace - While I slowed a little bit as the race went on, I didn't shoot out of the gate too fast trying to keep up with people I simply cannot keep up with at this time. I stuck to my plan and it mostly worked out.

3. Garments - Since this is the first winter I've run, I've had some cold weather races where I didn't dress in an ideal manner. (This is part of the reason why Novemeber was a pretty down month for me). I think I've got it down now. I had a wicking short sleeve shirt and a wicking long sleeve shirt on to start. I went out and the wind was blowing right through me so I added a thin long sleeve shirt on top. It was perfect. I used to try to be "macho" and go shorts only, but now that I have sport pants that I have gotten used to run in, I don't feel pressure to go bare legged.

4. Training - I have gotten a lot of work in the past month or so and am in pretty good shape and in good health. Sure, there is a ache here or a pain there, but no injuries.

Here's what I need work on:

1. Training- Wait, you said you did this well. I did! But I also need to work on it. Particularly, I need to have more sessions where I run faster. Interval training, tempo runs, I need to do more. You need to train fast to go fast and I didn't train fast enough. I've tried to do this a little on the treadmill, but I think it will get easier as the days get longer and I can get outside in the mornings or afternoon.

2. Core strength - This goes along with training but deserves its own mention. My core is not nearly strong enough and is a big weakness for me when racing. I need to make myself do more to build my midsection up, but the thing is, I like doing that type of exercise. I must make myself do it though, or I will likely never reach my potential.

3. Warmup - I have an issue warming up on race day. Walking for 3 minutes and running for about 30 seconds (as I did Sunday) doesn't cut it, especially when it is below freezing. I don't know that I'll ever find an ideal method to warm up when you need to stand in what is basically a big waiting line for 10 minutes or more waiting for the race to start, but I need to do better. My legs were not ready to move when the race started.

Other race thoughts:

1. My Brooks Adrenaline GTS 11 shoes are far superior to my Sears-bought New Balance shoes. More cushioning, more comfortable and I got "fit" for them, so they are the right type of shoe for me.
2. I missed my cheering section. I don't know if I they "help" me, but I like when my family comes to the races *except when I need to deal with trying to keep them happy - Daddy's working! :)
3. Giving away glasses at the end of a race may not be the best idea. I heard several glasses drop followed by a loud "OHHHHHHHHHH!" from the crowd each time.
4. I'll cheer others on when I'm done. Unless I know you, especially if you're beating me, I'm not going to be supportive.
5. The number of pre-teens and senior citizens beating me at these big races is down to a handful. I would like this to be as close to zero as possible.

I learned all that from a 5k race and seem to learn something from every race. Hopefully, I'll retain this info and actually use some of it for next time.


Went to Indian Springs with the lil' woman (she needs a good blog name) and did a 7.5 mile recovery run today. I was very proud of her for walking over 3 miles. I don't know that I'll ever be able to convert her into being a runner, but I'd be happy with her being a regular walker. She's been doing a great job lately.

As for me, my legs were pretty sore from the race yesterday, but I needed to get a longish run in. It was harder that it normally would be, mostly because of the sore legs. I didn't go fast, but ended up just a little quicker than planned, just under 10 min/mi.

What have you learned from recent races?

Any tips for warming up before a race?

Any other events to share?


  1. Josh, nice write up and race report. There are always lessons to be learned if you are paying attention. I'm wondering if perhaps part of your physical warm up difficulties is actually just a mental thing? Something to think about.

    1. Thanks Matt,
      You're right, much of it is mental. I have a routine for when I train, but I don't have one for races and it throws me off a bit. My legs were physically tight too. It might just be that I haven't trained "fast" and the legs didn't know what to do.

      I'll get it down. Thanks for the advice and support!