A running friend sent me this question:
“I’m thinking of doing the 5K and 10K St. Patrick’s Day event on Saturday. I’ve never done back to back races before, but my half marathon training plan for an upcoming races calls for me to do a 15K race this weekend, so I thought I must just do that by combining the two. An advice on how to prepare for and what to do between the two races?”
I threw the question out to my FB friends to see if they had any advice for John. Here’s what they had to say:
I’ve done both a few times. I always decide which one I’m ‘racing’ and treat the other distance as a run only…not clock focused. Depending on speed – they are close enough together that it’s close to one long run. — Christine Vaseen
It’s a great training day! Race the 5k, stretch in between, then race the 10k!! — Mary Kay Snyder-Migdal
Depends on your pace. If you’re relatively fast, the half-hour or so between races can be a killer. Makes the 10k a LOT harder than it ought to be. So I’d recommend doing the 5k (however you are going to do it) and keep going (slow & steady) until about 5 or 10 minutes before the 10k. And whatever you do, don’t eat or drink anything between. Water will be at the half-way for the 10k — Drink then. — Jim Lang
I’ve done both a few times at the St. Pat’s race & the Turkey Trot and I do the Duathlon each year and wait between 5Ks for my brother to circle the park on his bike. I typically run the first 5K conservatively — usually at my 10K pace because I know I have another 6.21 to go later. Once I get halfway through the second race, though, I give it everything I have left — the old “don’t leave anything on the track” advice.
I’ll be honest & tell you that the gap time between races kinda stinks and the faster you run, the longer you wait, of course. Jim’s advice to keep moving slowly in between is a smart strategy. I have never thought to do that and so I end up getting chilled in between and I start the 10K with my teeth chattering and body shivering uncontrollably.
If the weather is bad, i.e. wet, slushy, bring a change of shoes & socks. Dry feet make all the difference. While you’re at it, bring an extra shirt because you may want to change that between races as well, particularly if it warms up between 9 and 10 a.m.
Also…. consider that this is a less competitive race than many of the others, so if you wanted to just run it for fun — you’d be in good company with plenty of other runners decked out in striped stockings, Kiss-me-I’m-Irish deedleboppers, and shamrock sunglasses.
Speaking of St. Patty’s costumes — check out this blog for some fun ideas.
Good luck, John! See you Saturday.
~ Heather “Just-the-10K-this-year” Cass
* Anyone else have good advice for John? Post a comment
* Do you have your deedleboppers and green tights ready to go for Saturday?
* Is it even possible for you to run a race “just for fun?” (I’ll admit…it’s not easy for me to do that)