How Not To Run A 5K

On Saturday I ran my first 5K since October. The Shamrock Walk and Run 5K and Jog With Your Dog race takes place in Winter Haven and benefits the Winter Haven library. I ran this race last year and loved that it is local (15 minutes from my house) and that it brings out a family atmosphere with the lots of families and cute dogs.

Shamrock Walk Run 5K Winter Haven Florida

Please allow me this rant about my race and I promise everything will turn out well in the end.

Forget Shit and Move On


So here is what went wrong. I am a slow runner which I have talked about at length on the blog. I want to be faster and am slowly starting to but the 5K distance is hard for me. I do better running a steady state pace for longer distances plus I have spent the last eight months (!) training for half marathons.

Racing Mistakes

1. Going out too fast.

Shamrock 5K Winter Haven Florida

Looking at these splits, I wonder who this runner is? I can run a mile in under ten minutes but not 3.10 of them. I even looked down at my Garmin and saw sevens. Sevens?! What on earth was I thinking?

The first mile is much faster than I ever run. My 5K pace should be about 10:30, so I do not know where 9:31 came from. Getting caught up in the excitement of the race is not good. It is hard, especially when you feel so slow, to let so many people pass you at the start. I have to remember to run my own race and not worry about what other people are doing.

2. Heat and humidity are a killer.

This race started at 3PM when the temperature was 80 degrees and the humidity was 62%. That is hot, even for this Floridian. Knowing this, I should have taken it easy.

3. You will pay for pushing too hard in the beginning.

By mile two, I had the most terrible cramp in my diaphragm that felt as if I could not breath. It was a sharp stabbing pain that would not go away. It got so bad that another runner asked me if I was OK and to make sure I told someone if I felt bad. I know I shouldn’t feel this way but that made me embarrassed.

4. There was no water on the course until mile 2.25.

This was not my fault but with the heat, I was dying for a drink earlier.

So what is the takeaway from this miserable race? I want to get faster and will have to put in the time and effort to do so. I plan on continuing with my half training plan until the Iron Girl Half at the end of April. After that race, the focus will be on shorter distances and lots of speed work. I have all my running books and past issues of Runners World spread out around my office and am digging through them to put together a plan.

At least I got a medal.

Shamrock 5K Run Walk Winter Haven Florida

What do you (did you) do to get faster?

9 thoughts on “How Not To Run A 5K

  1. That stinks you had a bad race, I think you did good but than again I am slow also! I think the only way I was able to knock off my 5k time was pushing one of my runs a week to be as fast as I could go. That really slowly helped! Than again I live in MO where the weather can be bad and have humidity but not on a year basis like you have to deal with!
    Courtney recently posted..time for relaxing…My Profile

  2. Oh man, some races just don’t go like you want them to, do they? Your race reminds me a lot of what happened to me at Miracle Miles back in September. I got to the starting line late, so I had a huge adrenaline surge and I ran the first three miles waaay too fast. Between that and the heat and humidity, I was feeling pretty bad when I crossed the line. I think I had two or three people ask me if I was ok! Don’t feel embarrassed. I think it happens to all of us.

    As for the speed work, I just started doing intervals for the first time this spring. I haven’t run any races yet, so I can’t tell you if it’s helped, but it’s been a good workout, if nothing else. I don’t have a Garmin to get the distance exact, so I just repeat 2 1/2 minutes fast, then 2 1/2 minutes slow. My dog thinks it’s a game, so I think speed work days are her favorite now! :)
    Diane @ DixieJulep recently posted..Food Truck Reviews: Orlando Food Truck Bazaar February 2012My Profile

    • Miracle Miles was really hot! There is actually a picture of me from that race walking and scowling at the camera guy.

      That’s awesome that you get to run with your dog, I always see people doing that and the dogs look so happy.
      Dina recently posted..How Not To Run A 5KMy Profile

  3. Pingback: I Need A Plan - Dina RunsDina Runs

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