I ran a 5K race yesterday and set a personal record (PR) of 18:26. My goal was to break 18:30, so I’m happy with my end result. It was a great day for a 5K, temperatures in the mid-60s, overcast, moderate humidity (~70%), with a 10 mph wind. The course was out and back and very flat. However, I did go out way too fast and paid for it later as every subsequent kilometer was a little slower. A better strategy would have been to go out fast, but not too fast, and try to maintain a more even pace – something I’ll try next time. I came in 5th place overall and 1st in my age group (40 – 49).
My kilometer splits were as follows:
1st km – 3:21 (5:23/mile pace)
2nd km – 3:34 (5:44/mile pace)
3rd km – 3:43 (5:59/mile pace)
4th km – 3:46 (6:04/mile pace)
5th km – 3:52 (6:13/mile pace)
Overall average of 3:41 per km (5:56/mile pace).
Another lesson learned is to try and run the tangents of the course. Because I ran on the outside of the runners, I probably ended up running an extra 50 – 100 meters, adding an extra 10 to 15 seconds to my time.
Prior to the run, I did review various 5K racing strategies. I intended to go out fast and run the first kilometer a little faster than my goal pace of 3:42 per kilometer, maybe around 3:30 to 3:35, but ended up running 3:21, which was way too fast and I ended up paying for it with a very painful last two kilometers. There is a pretty popular study by the University of New Hampshire that showed runners who ran 3 – 6% faster the first mile ended up with their best times – I went out about 10% faster. Although I did end up with PR (lending some credence to the study), I think if I would have held back a little more and was in the 3 to 6% range my first kilometer, I may have run the overall race a little faster and it wouldn’t have been nearly as painful toward the end. Therefore, my recommendation when you run a 5K, is don’t be afraid to start off quickly, just keep it within the reasonable range of 3 to 6%. Runner’s World has a nice calculator to determine the proper pace for your first mile of a 5K.
Garmin GPS (Note: Pushed the wrong button when I crossed the finish line, that is why the time doesn’t match up): http://connect.garmin.com/activity/88263576