Tag Archives: racing

I Don’t Know How To Run 5K

Ab work this morning at the gym, followed by a 2250 meters (2460 yards) swim. Taking it kind of easy for a 5K race tomorrow morning. I’ve never raced one, and I can’t remember the last time I ran just 5K, but it’s been at least 2 years. Usually my training runs are at least 8K.


I’m really excited about tomorrow, although at the same time if I have to use just one word to describe how I feel about this race, it would be confused. I will think of this race as a training tempo run, where I do the last 5K at a faster pace, and try to copy that tomorrow. After a warm up run, 5K tempo will be the race.
The possibility of going out too fast when it’s a shorter race seem even more probable than usual, at the same time going too conservatively and then having the race be over too fast, without never making the hardest possible effort, would suck a little.
In the end, it will be a good experience, if only learning wise.


This will be a small race and there will be a few people I know, so I am looking forward to hanging out and talking to friends. I wish I could run a great time, but I’m not feeling it too much. I haven’t tapered, except for taking it slightly easier after my 5 day running streak late last week, and my nutrition and sleep have been lacking due to same late nights.

I need to work on my playlist, I will need only a few songs, and then I’m going to bed to watch some TV. I may lose your respect, but I’ve been watching Devious Maids and it’s so entertaining. I’m so tired when I go to bed that I can only watch light stuff, and this show is doing it for me. The maids and the families they work for have some interesting stuff going on.


What is your favorite low quality entertainment?

For me it’s reality TV.

Any 5K race tips?


Training: Tempo Run

It took me some time to understand how to do a tempo run right.
It sounds fairly easy, run at a comfortably hard speed for about 30-60 minutes. But that definition is quite vague, there’s a huge difference between 30 minutes and 60 minutes, and what is a comfortably hard speed anyway?

The time (or distance) and speed of your tempo run should be set depending on what kind of race you are training for, and if you are not training for any particular race then you can decide time and speed based on your preference of getting a bit faster, or getting better at longer runs.
Keep in mind that the tempo run starts after you are warmed up.

Figuring out your pace for a tempo run:
If you’ve run races before, or are an experienced runner, you are most likely familiar with what your average pace at race effort is for a specific distance.
If you are relatively new to running and haven’t run races yet, you could time one of your regular ones, preferably one where you’ve made a bit of an extra effort.
For example, if you ran a 10K in 50:00 minutes, your average pace for the run was 05:00 Min/KM or 08:03 Min/Miles. That is the pace you should run your tempo run at if you were training for a 10K.
I actually really like the 10K distance for racing, but also for training, it’s not too short that you have to go all out on speed, but it’s not too long that you are training more on endurance than on speed.
This is a great calculator to figure out your paces/times for other distances, even if you haven’t run them, but entering a distance and time of a recent race/run.

Figuring out your time/distance for a tempo run:
The time or distance of your tempo run will be directly related to the distance you are training for.
Since you will be running at goal race pace, you should not run your tempo as long as the race distance, leave that for race day.
Guidelines of tempo Run distance for a particular race:
For a 5K, a 3 KM (approximately 2 miles) tempo run will be enough. For a 10K, do your tempo run for 5-6 KM (approximately 3-4 miles). For a half marathon distance, start with 9KM/6M and go up to around 14KM/9M. For the marathon distance, between 13KM/8M and 19KM/12M should be enough.

How to make the most of your tempo run:
A tempo run should take some effort, so whether you are trying to gain speed or endurance, you should make the most of it.
Be smart and think thoroughly beforehand of how you want to run it, study your race times and recent runs times and find a happy medium. For me taking a conservative approach is best, there’s always time to go up in speed/distance next time.
Listen to your body while running your tempo to gain experience on how a pace feels, especially as time goes on and you get tired. You don’t want to run too fast or too long to the point of exhaustion, although taking it to easy will not shield any benefits either.
I really believe there is no shame in cutting a run short because you were too ambitious in planning of your pace/distance. This doesn’t mean you are quitting, it means you need a few more weeks to gradually get to the point where you can do the run without burning out.


I went for a tempo run this morning, 11K/6.8M total, the first 2K/1.2M being a warm up, the next 5K/3.1M at a comfortable pace of 05:00 Min/KM (08:03 Min/Mile), and the last 4K/2.5M at 10K goal pace of 04:20 Min/KM (06:58 Min/Mile).
Unfortunately I didn’t run the last 4K/2.5M at an even pace, the first KM of the 4 was slower (I really couldn’t push my pace any more), and the other 3 were faster. Talk about our bodies needing time to adjust to a certain speed. In the end I did average the last 4K at exactly 04:20, so mostly mission accomplished.. although I do wish I had run more evenly.



Healthy Monday for Runners: Carb Loading


If you are going over all the details of your upcoming race, trying to figure out how to do things the best way, then you are probably wondering if you should carb load.
But what exactly is carb loading, should you do it, and if so, how to do it right?


The technical mambo jambo, ADD version:

Our bodies store energy in the form of glycogen, in our muscles and liver.
Carbohydrates, or carbs, are our main source of glycogen.
Our bodies store enough glycogen for about 90 minutes of exercise.
See? That’s it.


Should I carb load?

Eating enough carbs before a race is not only beneficial for longer races, but it will also give you extra energy for races where you’ll be running less than 90 minutes.
Even if you are planning on consuming carbs before/during your race, carb loading a few days in advance will ensure you have the maximum energy available come race day.


However, there are a few negatives to carb loading to consider before you make the decision:
Feeling bloated: a change in diet, especially consuming extra carbohydrates, may make you feel bloated.
Water retention: Our bodies store 3 grams of water for every gram of glycogen.
Stiff muscles: extra carbs can make your muscles feel stiff and less flexible.
Change: sometimes the uncertainty of change doesn’t sit well on our minds, especially close to race day (see “make a plan” below).


The right way to carb load:

Do the math: By using a nutrition app like myfitnesspal or sparkpeople, figure out what percentage of your daily calories comes from carbs, so you can gradually increase them. Keep in mind you’ll want to eat around 7-8 grams of carbs for each KG (2.2 pounds) of your weight (this is what works for me, some suggestions go up to 10 grams per KG).

Practice: General guidelines are great to get an idea of what to do, but they are guidelines. Your body may respond better to a bit less or a bit more carbs than the recommended range, so take the time to experiment.

Make a plan: Figure out in advance what you will eat and drink every day during the carb loading phase, calculate the carb and calorie content to make sure you are on track with your needs.

Start 3-7 days before the race: The last 2 days before the race, consume 80% carbs, the days before that, range between 50% and 80%.

Choose wisely: Despite what you may have heard, carb loading is not about eating a lot of starchy junk food. Chose simple and nutritious foods, without a lot of extra fat and salt. Go for complex carbs the first few days (whole grain bread, whole wheat pasta, oats, etc.) and stick to simple carbs (white breads and flours) the day before the race.

Get them in: Some people actually enjoy eating a lot of bread, pasta and rice. But for others it is more difficult to eat a larger amount of carbohydrates. Healthy drinks are a great way to get some additional carbs without the extra feeling of fullness, think smoothies, shakes, and natural juices.

Don’t overeat the night before the race: Eat a medium sized meal, 12-15 hours before the race. You want to feel comfortably full after dinner, and actually wake up hungry the next morning.

Race day breakfast: Don’t go overboard with your race day breakfast, so you don’t feel too full and heavy when it’s time to run. A 200-300 calorie breakfast of mostly carbs, 2-3 hours before the race should be enough.


Have you ever tried carb loading? Did it work for you?



Considering this is the first season I ever participated in races, I am surprised I’ve made it through 6 races.
My last race of the season, my 7th race, a 10K, is coming up next Saturday, a week from today.

Turns out I am more competitive with myself than I knew, and I have expectations about this race, or one expectation, a PR.
I don’t know why it really matters if my time is slower or faster than my current PR, if it really makes a difference, but it does.

It’s not about proving myself that my training paid off, because I already know it did. And I know which paces I can run, and for how long. But I need that official number next to my name. As if only then it were true.

My current 10K PR is 44:43, and it wasn’t particularly easy to get.

The result I want, I’m dreaming big, is 43:30.
Will I get it? Probably not.
Am I just being negative to think that? Probably not.

If the course is flat, and everything is right, I might be able to run that time. 5% chance sounds about right.
Anything between 44:00 and 45:00 sounds way more realistic.

I’ve told a few runners friends about the result I hope to get, and I’m writing it here, and I know I’ll be embarrassed to come back and say I didn’t get it if I don’t get it.
But I refuse to not say it just because I might be embarrassed later.

It’s OK to have goals and expectations, and if we don’t meet them on our first try then we will meet them next time, or the next, or maybe never, but even then: so what.
We wish, we try, we hope… isn’t that something to be proud of? Much prouder than being too proud to admit what we really want for fear of what may happen.


So I hope for a 10K race result of 43:30 next week.
And I hope one day, in a year or five, to go sub-40 for 10K.
And I really hope my kids are happy.
I hope my marriage gets stronger.
And I hope the world becomes a much happier, healthier, nicer place.



Are you sometimes embarrassed to admit what your race goals are? Anything you wish for that you’d like to share?


Do You Drive Like You Run?

We all have a running style, and I’m not referring to our heel strike or pronation.
No, I’m talking about the style that has more to do with our personality.
Are you training to be the fastest you can be? Are you going for distance? Do you mind if someone passes you? Do you try to pass them right back, even when you know you don’t stand a chance? Do you run without measuring your time or distance because it’s of no importance to you?

I definitely see some resemblances between my running and my driving.



1) I try to save time:
Both for running and driving, I’m always trying to save a couple of minutes. It’s like a big goal. Does it really matter if I run 21K in 1:40 or 1:42? I’m not even talking about a half marathon race, just a regular long run. And does it matter if I arrive to work at 8:46 or 8:48? I’m supposed to be there at 8:30, it’s already late anyway.



2) I like the feeling of speed:
When I’m running, I really like the feeling of going fast. I say feeling, because sometimes I can be running slow, up a hill, or with sore legs from a previous run. But if I’m making an effort and I feel like I’m going fast, then I’m happy. The same goes for when I’m driving, depending on where I’m driving speed feels differently, but that feeling of going fast does it for me.



3) I’m competitive:
I don’t really compete with people who run much faster than me, that’s silly. And I don’t really compete with people who are slower than me, that’s just stupid. But if I think someone is on a similar level than me, and they pass me, then it’s on. It’s on even if I was on a slow recovery run. It’s on even if I know I’ll pay for it in a few KMs. It’s on despite my better judgment.
For driving I’m more rational than that, but sometimes competitive anyway.



4) I fuck up:
I’ve fucked up in races, started much faster than I should have because there was this girl/guy/dog/tree who I just had to pass (of course she/he passed me right back on the 2nd half of the race). I’ve fucked up in training, didn’t take enough rest days, did too much speed work, got myself injured.
And I’ve fucked up when driving too, most recently yesterday, almost got my license revoked. Yes, I was going fast beyond the speed limit, even fast beyond “you-just-get-a-ticket” limit.



5) I really like it:
Despite the sweat, pain, soreness, stress, nerves, etc., I love running and I love driving, it’s “me” time, half very in the moment and aware of what I’m doing, half doing it automatically and enjoying the silence in my mind and the music in my ears.


Have you ever gotten a driving ticket?

Are you competitive with those running/driving around you?