Not everyone can run 5k. So finishing a race is an achievement. But if you are running a competitive race, you want to do as well as you can. You may not win overall unless you are a professional, but you want to do well in your category or age group. This is where keeping an eye on your 5k times can make you a better and more competitive runner.
Don’t bother about your timings for the first few races you take part in. Just focus on finish and refining your race technique – knowing when to conserve your strength, when to stay with a pack and when to break away etc. Once you are comfortable in a race environment you can look at improving your timings
A 5k race 5K Running has its advantages as well as disadvantages. On the plus side is that the shorter the race, the less time other runners have to spring a surprise on you. And if you make a mistake and over pace yourself, the distance is not so great that you still can’t somehow finish the race and not be one of those who did not make it to the finish line. The disadvantage is that because the race is not too long, you have less time to recover from any mistake that you may have made.
Your 5k Jogging times can be affected by factors beyond your control – overcrowding at the start making it difficult to find your pace, hills on the race route, weather and road conditions are just a few of them. Things in your control are your preparation, pacing yourself properly and adequate nutrition and hydration before the start of the race. Look after the things you can control and don’t fret about those you can’t – worrying about them will affect your concentration and your times.
Using your last race time as a starting point, set yourself a target of a time you want to achieve in the next one. Don’t overdo it and be unrealistic – if you did a 45 minute 5k last time, you can’t bring it down to 30 minutes by the next race.
Beak up the race into per kilometer times. Not all of the 5k will be at the same speed but this information will help you know at which stage of the race you have to improve your time. Get yourself a sports watch or other such gadget that will measure distance and time and use it to monitor you last race performance.
Analyze the reason for each kilometer’s time. If your pace was 7 minutes for the first km, 8 for the second, 10 for the third, 14 for the fourth and 10 for the fifth, you can see that you performance sagged too much in the middle of the race. What was the reason for it? Do you have left over energy or did you time it just perfect? Were you boxed in by other runners who slowed you down? Did you start too fast and fade in the middle of the race?
Start finding solutions in your training and races strategy. Things won’t improve dramatically by the next race but over a period of 3 or 4 races you should see a significant improvement in your 5k times.