I ran the Sweetwater 420 5K today. It was the first time in a long time I had raced a 5K. I finished 3rd overall, 18:30 on a difficult 5K course (Although, I didn’t know there could be such a thing). I think I’m going to run more 5Ks. Running this race made me realize that the 5K is an entirely different race than anything 10K or higher. There are more sharp corners, short and steep hills, and it is a quicker mental race. A 5K can be serious. Dude, I’m serious, listen.
Right Hand Turns: Quick right hand turns are tricky. There is a technique to running them. The first right hand turn of this race was about 400 m from the start and I ran around it like I was rounding 1st base on a triple. I could literally hear the people behind me licking their chops thinking, ‘I’m going to pass this idiot.’ On a quick 90 degree turn you have to make smaller steps. Hit the corner at the closest edge and pivot. Keep your arms out for balance. A 90 degree turn running a 6 minutes mile pace is serious.
Short Hills: This I didn’t mind as much but it was different. In longer races the routes to try to avoid drastic changes in elevation; however, 5Ks pay less attention because they are shorter in distance. You are forced to use bursts of energy and then turn it off on a steep downhill. More strategic running than a long distance race.
Competitors: Often the fields of local 5ks are made up of predominantly people who run 10 miles a week who are there to have a good time. There are usually only a small portion of runners who are competing. Less competition the more you have to push yourself; race against yourself. I lost the race today against myself. I’ll tell you about it tomorrow. I need a day to reflect.
Quicker Mental Race: In a 5K you don’t have much time to strategize. You must be able to react quickly. In the beginning of the race you have to make sure you stick with your competition. If they get away you have less time to fill the gap. When you get to a hill or see your competitor getting tired you have to decide if you want to make your move. In a 5K you really only have one chance to make one big move. Use it wisely.
Try your local 5k. It can be a lot of fun, challenging, and a great way to compete!