Why Running a 5K Can Improve
Your Performance in Longer Races
Running a 5K can improve your 10k, ½ marathon and yes, even your marathon performance. I show you how to add a 5k race into your training program for improved results.
Training for a half marathon or marathon means you have graduated. You are a runner and you want to be considered as one. But won’t running a 5k be like taking a step backward?
No, it will not. In fact, 5k racing can play an integral part in your program. You have been training for months. You know you have made huge strides in your endurance. You want to know what you can do. In short, you are itching to take this training out for a test drive.
How Running a 5K Boosts Your Performance
- You will build confidence in your abilities and in your training. A good 5k race will get you pumped up and excited about what is possible. A confident runner will always do better.
- You will practice your pacing under race conditions. Pacing is necessary in any race, but the farther the distance the more important it becomes. You will not be running a 10k at the same pace, but you will need discipline to get it right. Here is your test ground.
- You will establish a baseline time that you can use to estimate your possible race time at higher distances. Use this calculator at marathonguide.com to predict times.
- Add a walk break or 2 into the race to:
i. Get a faster time. A short break of 1 minute or less will actually improve your time and will not make it slower.
ii. Reduce or eliminate your recovery time. This ensures you can continue with your training during the week.
- You will find out if your training is really on course early enough to make adjustments. A bad 5k run will let you know you need to make changes in your workouts to be successful at the farther distances.
- These miles count too and add to your baseline endurance. It is an intensive speed workout under realistic conditions unmatched in track workouts.
In essence, running a 5k race prior to your target race can improve your results. The idea is to increase ability, so this needs to be worked into your schedule. Otherwise, you run the risk of making an overtraining error. This is avoided with these guidelines:
- Plan on a race that is 3 weeks from your 10k.
- For a half, make this speed run 3-6 weeks out.
- And for the marathon, choose a 5k distance event 6-10 weeks before your main event.
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