The unbearable lightness of running 5k

The Unbearable Lightness of Being (film)
The Unbearable Lightness of Being (film) (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Milan Kundera didn’t know a lot about 5k running. But even if he did he might find that there is a lot more to 5k than meets the eye.

Most of us worry about whether we should run an even split (constant pace), negative split (slower first half) or positive split (slower second half). [Answer: Even or slightly positive]

What if it’s windy? Even on a track that might be the only variable out of your control but how would you pace that?

Well what if you are running on an undulating course? I think of the Richmond Park parkrun where the first half is very downhill. ‘Obviously’ you run a positive split but how much so? and how would you know if you were doing it for the first time? [Answer: I don’t know]

If you are going for a PB, how fast should you run your even splits at? Amateur or novice athletes might improve quite a lot in the space of a month, targeting a particular pace is harder for them than for someone who has mostly plateau’d but perhaps has a tad more in the tank…they ‘just’ go a little bit faster than last time.

So what if you are doing a Sprint Triathlon? There’s usually a sneaky 5k tagged on at the end. You know you have to aim for an even split but at what pace? Often this favours instead just going for it and hang on (likely positive split). But exactly how fatigued will you be and so how much slower than for a standalone 5k? You certainly shouldn’t be getting a 5k PB. Also this might well be a totally new course to you again pacing is much more difficult than on a track.

So what if you are doing a standard duathlon? Again you’re going to be a wee bit tired when you come to that last 5k after the bike. But you should be even more tired than you would be in a sprint triathlon as you have already run 10k and cycled twice as far than in your sprint tri. If you haven’t done this sort of race a few times you will have little idea of what pace to go for, you’ll probably be cramping and also running the risk of being way too conservative in your choice of pace.

So what if you are doing a sprint duathlon? You start off with a 5k but you have to hold something back? knowing the bike and more running is to come….actually just pretty much go for your best shot and hold on for the remaining 45 minutes plus (lol).

So. 5k is a bit complex really.




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