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How Not to Pace a 5km Race

Notice anything interesting about my 5km splits for my Las Vegas 5km run?

Even though the 1st km was all downhill, I knew I was in trouble when I checked my Garmin 405 to see a 4:20 km time. As you can see, the rest of my kms were quite a bit slower.

Any good advice out there for how to properly pace myself for my next 5km?


I measure by miles here in FL in stead of KMs, but I find it best for me to have mile 1 my slowest, mile 2 my best, and mile 3 my 2nd best mile

They take a lot of practice to get down though
Sheila said…
5Ks are tricky. The more you run, the better you will get at it (I think?). Also, use a pace calculator like the macmillan running calculator (google it) to predict your best possible 5K time and use that for your splits. I invariably go out too fast at the beginning and have a hard time holding on at the end. Lots of people "say" that is the race strategy for a 5K...go out fast and try to hold on. I really think knowing your even splits for your predicted 5K and trying to stick to that is best.
Use your 405 pace rate option, decide what pace you want to run and the Garmin will beep at you if your going too fast or slow, try it out on training.
Definitely started out too fast! Then got your second wind in the 3-4km (about mile 2).

Sheila has the right idea for a PR at a 5k: Start out FAST and HANG ON!

If this is a race where you know the pace of other runners, stick behind someone that you know runs well. Be prepared to pass them if you find out if your comfortable pace is faster.

If you are going to look at the Garmin (or inevitably hear someone shout out Splits), tell your mind BEFORE the race that numbers are only numbers.

On 5k races, I personally don't recommend trying to do big negative splits (each faster than the previous) because if you perceive a pace is faster than it actually is, then if you are actually running slower than the perceived pace, that is usually a downer. Likewise, if you start out slightly faster than your estimated pace, IF you have to slow down, your perceived slowness will make the pace seem easier and maybe not too far off from a good pace.

I try to do even splits with a goal time for the 1st mile. If I hit the pace, I know what I need to do for the rest of the race. If I miss the pace, then I know I have 2 miles to make whatever changes to reach my goal time. If I overshoot the pace, then I know I have a buffer if I start to slowdown.

Two other things you have to consider are number of other runners and terrain.

They do take practice!
Chris Dahl said…
Suggestions? Practice, practice, practice. I've learned a lot by practicing pacing in 800 meters repeats, where I increase my pace every 200 meters, then walk for 200 meters, and run 800m it again. I use pace music and the hashmarks on a measured track to check my progress over time. Over time, I have learned what the effort at difference paces feels like. I had a lot of success with the pacing feature on my Garmin on my recent half-marathon.
JD said…
Critical: make sure to warm-up real good, with some high intensity work. You heart has to be rev'ing on the line.

Make sure you know about any inclines. What goes down must come up.

Make sure you have a precise time goal. You must believe you can achieve it. Make sure the course is certified. If you are going to suffer, it should be unassailable by nitpickers. I try to go for even splits, even though it never happens. Your 1st km will be fast. Try to hang on at your planned pace after that. At 4k, just when you think about quitting, think about when you will start you sprint, instead. 200m, 100m? Where is that line?

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