Are 5K Running and 3 mile races the same thing? The answer is yes and no. Yes because a runner who can do 5k can do 3 miles. No because 5k equals 3.10615569 miles and in today’s sports world where a thousandth of a second can mean the difference between victory and defeat, the extra hundred yards can make a lot of difference. Its like another 100 meters sprint added on to the 5k race.
A 5k race is all about pacing yourself as a runner. You need to know when to conserve energy, when to use short bursts of it during the course of the races and when to make the final push. The better the runner you are, the more finely you will be able to judge when to do what. And if you are a good enough runner to be able to define your race strategy in meters, the extra hundred can make all the difference.
Measuring your race accurately down to a few meters is something all professional runners do. But, to almost the same degree, so to regular amateur runners. If you are an amateur runner who has been competing in 5K Training regularly, you may not consciously know at what distance to hold back and when to push, but your experience will inform your subconscious mind when the time comes to change your pace. If you want to time the last bit of energy you have to use up then this is the best strategy to try and do this. But what happens if you suddenly find you have another 101 meters to go? Sure your body can do it. Its not vary far. But how fast can you do it?
If you are planning on a final burst over the last few hundred meters, your body, both physically and psychologically, has been primed to use up every last bit of energy it has over that distance. If you see someone at the beginning of the race running smooth and someone at the end of the race hurting badly this is probably what happened to them. The extra 101 meters required for a 3 mile race could mean staggering through the extra distance for those not prepared for it.
The best way to be prepared for both the 5K Training and 3 mile races is to run 3 miles during your training. This will condition your body to the distance. When you have a race planned, spend a few days before the race running exactly the 5k distance. Mark off the last 500 meters of your practice run and start your closing burst from here, or where ever you normally do it from. When preparing for a 3 mile race, do exactly the same thing for the last 500 yards. The real point of this is to help your body get used to the differences in the distances.
100 meters many not be much but have you seen how much a sprinter puts in over that distance and how drained he is by the end of it?
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