Tuesday, May 29, 2012

10 Tips to Run a Faster 5K

Last week I ran a 5K and got a new personal best for that particular course and ran my fastest 5K in 10 years. That got me thinking about some of the little things I have learned and fine tuned over the years. I admire serious runners, but I don't pretend to be one. I'm just a recreational runner and the advice I'm about to give is aimed to that same group, so if you run a 5K in under 18 minutes, you don't need to keep reading.

1-Train well in advance- The most obvious way to improve your time for any running event is it to prepare and train before hand. There is no substitution for preparation, so the most important thing you can do to run faster is it to train well in advance to improve your conditioning.

2-Get quality rest- This not only applies to getting enough sleep the night before the race, but letting your body rest and recuperate before a race rather than put it through a hard workout prior to the event.

3-Don't forget the little things- Tie your shoes well, wear appropriate gear, and keep your toenails trimmed! I know this sound like "no duh" advice, but it's a shame to overlook such simple little things and have them negatively impact your performance.

4-Fuel your body- If you are running a long distance event, you may want to carb load, just don't do a Michael Scott by wolfing down your Olive Garden take out while you are standing at the starting line. Learn what eating routine works best for you so you don't have to take chances experimenting before a race.

5-Get hydrated- You should be hydrated long before you start running and stay hydrated along the way. When you become dehydrated, you can only function at a fraction of your peak performance.

6-Use Music- I know many serious runners frown on music, but if you like to run to music, listen to something that will keep your pace and cadence where it should be. I have a couple songs I like to run to because I know if I stick to the beat, I will run a mile in exactly 7 minutes, so it keeps my pace consistent. Songs in the 180 beats per minute category are ideal. Keeping you cadence up can be hard to do if you are listening to Kenny G.

7-Warm up before the race- I used to wonder why some people were wasting their energy sprinting and jogging around before the race began. I now understand the value of getting your muscles and joints warm and loose to allow a better range of motion and to prevent injury.

8-Pace yourself- I usually have a pretty fast first mile and feel good about myself until I start getting passed on the last mile by all the disciplined runners who were smart enough to pace themselves. It's no fun to run out of gas because you started too fast.

9-Kick to the finish line- As you near the end of the race, you'll see a big finish sign, a cheering crowd, and your adrenaline will be pumping. Take advantage of these factors and push hard to the finish line.

10-Mentally prepare- Envision yourself running the course successfully. Know what to expect can be a huge psychological boost. I really like running a race course on my own a couple days before the event so I know what to expect and can visualize what it will be like.

As you apply these ten tips, they can add up and make a big difference and help you run a faster 5K.

No comments: