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Race to Win: 5K Racing Tips

Updated on May 15, 2007

This is me finishing!!

So you have worked hard, trained, pushed... and now you are fast... fast enough to win... race day is 3 days away... now how do you go about winning?

Winning may seem all about speed, and believe me, a lot of it is, but there is skill involved in running too, I have seen enough 5K, 10K, and marathon finishes to know that it comes down to seconds, and it is not the fact that the winner was 2 seconds faster, but that he was 2 seconds smarter.

I think racing really comes down to three things: (1) Knowing when to make your move; (2) Running your race; and (3) Finding your fire!

Know When to Make Your Move

This may seem simple, you kick too early you run out of gas, you kick too late and someone has crossed the finish line before you. But there is a lot too it- and usually there is more than one "move" in a race. Front runners usually form a pack, know when to get into this pack, it should be within the first half mile. Don't get boxed in, and don't get left out! Stay with this pack as long as you can, there is no use sprinting ahead, keep your cool unless you start to see someone else break away, in which case during a 5K you should go too. If no one has made a "move" by the last half mile you are up, make your move and get out ahead, and don't look back, just sprint on through to the finish!

Run your Race

It is often difficult to run at your perfect pace and perfect stride when there are 2,000 other people running about you. This is the most difficult in the beginning of the race, and usually becomes easier once the race thins out. But focus on running your race and your pace, don't get stuck behind someone slow. And if you plan on finishing first, than start in the front, it is difficult and requires more effort to run about people, start in the front and finish in the front!

Find Your Fire

This is different for everyone- but I am a firm believer that everyone needs a fire. What I mean is we all need something to run for, something that makes us want to cross that finish line first, something that is even more than a want, it is a desire, a need, it is a FIRE! Finishing a 5K at all is an accomplishment but to place is something that takes tremendous courage when running, there is physical and mental pain involved, and having something to run for helps you overcome that. Whether your fire is your mother, or your child, or even just yourself keep it in the back of your mind the whole time, and bring it to the front just when you need it, just when you start your sprint to the finish!



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