In Flight Team Heads To Brenham For Blue Bell 5K/10K

2017 blue bell 5K 10K

Killer hills were on the agenda as some of the In Flight Running t
eam headed to Brenham Texas for the annual Blue Bell Ice Cream 5K/10K.  Always a fun and challenging race rolling through the hill country with awesome scenery, cows, and bluebonnets along the way and all you can eat ice cream at the finish line. Highly recommend this great Southwest Texas race held in early April that benefits the Brenham High School athletic department.  The race is also held on Bluebonnet festival weekend held just outside of Brenham.  For more information check out the Blue Bell Fun Run website here

More 5K Fine Tuning Tips

I love running and coaching runners but honestly one of my least favorite things is running short distance races like 5Ks. Why? Because they are painful, don’t give you too much room for error and are over in the blink of an eye compared to a marathon. I know it sounds crazy but give me a half marathon or marathon to run any day. Longer races allow you much more opportunities to screw up but make the necessary adjustments along the way to redeem yourself in the end.

But you have to crawl before you walk, walk before you run and run 5Ks before you tackle marathons and half marathons. As a running coach I believe that racing is essential for building better runners. In a previous post I offered up some tips on Getting The Most Out Of Your Next 5K. After running a 5K the weekend after I wrote that post I realized I forgot a few things as I was rewinding how the race played out in my head. So here are a few more tips to help you reach that next PR. And remember, every race is a learning experience. So review your race in your head and set your mind on what you need to do the next time you hit the streets.

More 5K Fine Tuning Tips

Everyone wants to run faster or destroy that old 5K time. Here are a few more tips that may help you get a new PR (personal record) at your next race:

Invest In Some Racing Shoes – They Make A Difference!

I have raced for years and never tried running in racing shoes until my last 5K on July 4th. Racing shoes, sometimes called racing flats, are light weight running shoes with very little cushioning. These babies are built for speed and short distance racing and most shoe manufacturers carry a few models. Go to a running specialty store like Fleet Feet to find them as most sporting goods stores don’t carry them. They are a little pricey with most selling for $100 plus retail but well worth it. Only use them for race days and you will get your money’s worth. I highly recommend my racing shoe, the Brooks Racet ST 4.

Pull Back The Reigns & Smooth Your Pacing Out

One thing we try to instill in our runners is being very aware of their pacing whether it is a trying run or it really counts on the race course. We don’t coach negative splits (running the second half of a training run or race faster than the first). For beginner runners negative splits are a great way to blow up before you hit the finish line. If you can become a human stop watch as a runner and internally know your pace you will go far. Set a pace goal in your mind and try to nail it for miles 1 and 2. If you feel good, somewhat controlled breathing then build pace during mile 3. If your tank still has gas in it gun it at the end and take out a few runners ahead of you.

Did You Go Out Too Fast Or Too Slow The Last Time?

As I mentioned above most people let adrenalin sabotage their running by running way too fast out of the blocks. Take a look at your pacing from the last race, have a realistic goal and try to start with goal pace. If you had a lot left after the last race you may want to go out a little more agressive and see if you can hold it

Communicate With & Thank Water Station Volunteers

Your water stop strategy can be just as important as your pacing strategy regardless of the race distance. Many times the race brocure will not tell you how many water stops are available and when they are available. So before you pass up fluids at the first water stop always ask a volunteer what is ahead. That may be your only chance to take down fluids so you don’t want to pass it up if it is the only water stop. Also always thank volunteers for coming out and helping. With volunteers most of us would be toast during a 5K race.

Adjust For The Weather – It Will Affect Performance Big Time

If the weather is extremely hot, extremely cold or extremely windy don’t expect a PR. Your pace may suffer and you have to bring down pacing to adjust or extreme weather will beat you in the end. On hot days which we have more of in Houston runners should make a point of hydrating as soon as they get up out of bed. Also if it is hot take down water at least once. Slower runners who are on the course longer should probably take down water every chance they get. A cup of water poured over your head in hot weather may also be good idea.

Use The 30 Second Countdown When Things Get Rough

I learned this great tip from my run coaching business partner, Duval Ruiz, years ago and it still works like a charm. When the race gets tough and you have to press on break up the race in 30 second chunks but counting in 30 second intervals in your head. Count one one thousand, two one thousand, etc. until you hit 30. Then reset and count out another set of 30. You will be amazed how this will take your mind off the race or the pain you are enduring at the end. This is a great tool to keep moving forward when you would normally slow down or throw in the towel.

Now go out there and bust it! Hope your next race is a personal best.

Get The Most Out Of Your Next 5K/10K

Marathon season is upon us with our group marathon coaching program, In Flight Running, kicking off our season last Saturday, May 30th. One thing we really focus on when coaching road racers, half marathoners and marathoners is racing. So much in fact that we almost require our runners to get out and race about once a month gradually racing longer distances as their marathon or half marathon goal race approaches. After all the end result of 35 weeks of training with our group culminates in running the Houston Marathon, Houston Half Marathon or another major fall or winter race. Learn how to race the shorter race distances during your training season and you will perform so much better when it really counts for that big goal race.

Racing Tips To Put Into Play
Below are some racing tips to put into action to get a quicker time and have a much better race experience. Whether your next race will be your 1st or 100th, one thing we have found is that every time you run one you learn something new. Just go out and race and stay loose and see what you can do (no pressure really).

Start Slow … Build Into Your Pace…Finish Fast
Your 5K pace should be about 10-20% faster pace per mile than your weekly long run pace(assuming you are running your long run slow enough). So instead of running in 1st gear like you do during a long run the race should be run in 3rd-4th gear. For those of you who are not sure what pace you can hold we recommend going out with a comfortable pace for mile 1, build into your target pace for mile 2 and determine at that point if possible you can push yourself during the final 1.1 miles. If you have some fuel left in the tank kick it towards the end.

Anticipate Course Turns
Read the race website, brochure or race packet info so you are familiar with race course turns. Anticipate every turn on the course and position yourself ahead of time in the inside lane in the direction you are turning. This insures that you are not running more course distance than necessary and helps you avoid traffic along turns on the course.

Avoid Running On Crowned Part of the Street
Avoid running on the banked edges of the street as much as possible or risk tripping on street debris or causing tightness or injury to the ankles, hips and calfs. Normally you want to stay in the middle of the course except when you anticipate a turn, then shift over to the side until you make your turn and then return back to the middle of the course. Stay on the flats whenever possible.

Minimize Lateral Movement
The shortest distance between point A and point B is a straight line and this is no different when running a race course. Run in the center of the course in a straight line as much as you can. Don not zig zag around other runners too often or you will waste valuable energy and add net mileage to your race. Save lateral or side to side movements for real important stuff like heading towards porta cans, water stations, course turns or a friend or relative in need of a high five.

Taking Down Water During the Course
Unless you plan on winning the race we recommend that you take some water down before the race and hit at least one water stop during the race. A 5K is a very short distance race at 3.1 miles so most runners will only need water somewhere in the middle of the course. When it is real hot you may find yourself taking down more fluids more often. After the race take down some water and an electrolyte like Gatorade. Many races have a free sports drink available after the race or offer free juices and snack to help you recovery.

Use the 2/1, 3/1, 4/1 or 5/1 Rule If Needed
If you are a beginner runner or go out too fast and are running out of gas in the middle or end of the race use a 2/1, 3/1, 4/1 or 5/1 routine. This is when you run for 2-5 minutes at a time with a 1 minute brisk recovery walk or jog in between sets of running. This will not totally kill your time and allow you to keep moving so you can finish strong and gracefully.

Smile Whenever Possible!
Especially as you approach the finish. Some 5K races will snap photos of you during the race. Even if you feel terrible you can never go wrong with smiling. For you running newbies this racing thing will get easier down the road. Trust me! :<)

Celebrate Every Finish Line Victory

Crossing the finish line of every race is a big deal and a chance to practice your Marathon or Half Marathon victory dance. Think about all of the poor soles who are still sleeping in while you are a sweaty mess running a race at sunrise. Savour your finish line moment every time and thank God for it as many are not physically able to do what you just accomplished.

Hang Around Afterwards & Have Fun!
Many races offer free food, beverages and sometimes beer if you can believe it. So cool off, get something to drink and eat, hang out, get to know your fellow runners and stick around for the awards ceremony.