A question that a lot of people are asking is “Does it hurt to run the day before a 5k?”
The simple answer is “YES IT DOES HURT” and you will hear advice from people to the contrary but they are pretty much wrong.
But it is a bit more complicated than a simple yes/no.
First of all if you are asking that question then you CANNOT BE A SERIOUS ATHLETE who follows training plans and the like. Some high level training plans will have you doing some very light exercise the day before a race but they do not apply to you (or me!). Like much of the advice on the net you read it can often be based on deep sports science but much of it applies to elite athletes not to mere mortals like us.
So let’s turn the question around. If you run tomorrow then when will you get the exercise benefit? Well the answer to that is in about 2 weeks time. So it follows that running the day before a 5k race will not help. It can’t help. It might NOT HURT but IT MIGHT HURT. It’s not worth the risk Some would even say that you should be careful with any exercise the day before; for example I would not even do stretching the day before.
But then again if you are running a 5k but not bothered about a PB or anything like that then sure DO GO FOR A RUN the day before. But here you are just doing a race as part of training. The 5k you are doing IS NOT A RACE (either against the clock or someone else).
So if you are racing tomorrow then DO NOT RUN TODAY. At all. I would even extend that to 2 or 3 days before a ‘proper’ race where I’m heading for a PB. My example is me today. I just did my 5k. I got a PB but it was just a course PB and 20 seconds off what I could have done on a good day on that course and the conditions were perfect today. Today is Saturday and I last ran on Tuesday but had a pretty serious 20 minute bike ride (personal TT) on Wednesday. So I had not properly recovered and it probably made around about 1% difference to my time. You have to DO A LOT OF TRAINING to improve by 1% but to knock 1% off your PB maybe all you have to do is not run for 2-3 days. Think about it. Run smart.
The same applies if you are a youngster. You still need that day off before going for a PB. The older you get the more recovery you need.
A ‘proper’ pre-race taper (ie reduced exercise) will last about 2 weeks. But it’s hard to do that if you are doing lots of ‘races’ where you are trying to combine PBs with getting stronger. Also a ‘proper’ taper WILL have you doing SOME exercise leading up to the days before a race and this exercise MAINTAINS your fitness (week stops it falling too much) as your fatigue levels also fall.
Good luck. Run smart.
- Should I Run the Day Before a 5K Race? (lyndariv.wordpress.com)
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- Will lucozade sporrt help me run faster over 5k (the5krunner.wordpress.com)
- How Running a 5k Changed My Life (scrapsofmygeeklife.com)
- ~Irish Jig 5k Race Recap~ (momwifefitnesslife.wordpress.com)
- 5K: Do Compression Tights Make Your 5k Times Faster? (the5krunner.wordpress.com)
- Ultimate Race Goals (itallchanges.com)
- Sean’s Run 5K Race Report (myfirst5k.wordpress.com)
- Secrets to Running a 5K Race (everydayhealth.com)
- Training to Run Your First 5K (everydayhealth.com)
- Running Against the Odds (handsonjacksonvilleblog.wordpress.com)
- The last 5k (of a Duathlon) (the5krunner.wordpress.com)
- Mean 5k intervals (the5krunner.wordpress.com)
- Turns Out, No. I Should Not Run Before a 5K (lyndariv.wordpress.com)
- should i run the day before a 5k? (the5krunner.wordpress.com)
- My feet hurt after a 5k run and my left sole is sore (the5krunner.wordpress.com)