Running a 5k on Turkey Day?

I know some of you out there, like myself, are running a 5/10K on Thanksgiving morning as it's a fun way to burn some calories and start your day with a bang. As I was researching for myself about what I should do for a proper 5K warmup, I thought you might like to know as well.

After all, when it's something we're not used to, we might need a little refresher. Running 1/2 and full marathons are much different than shorter races because most training plans suggest not needing to warmup because you'll have plenty of time to get into your groove during the race. I know I've read somewhere (most likely in RW) that the shorter the race, the more important and longer the warm up.

I had an idea of what I should do come Thursday morning, but wanted to look to the experts for more specific advice. So here it is, courtesy of Runner's World, the perfect warmup.

Unfortunately, most runners warm up and then stand around for a while before their races begin. They might as well not warm up at all! Research has shown that for the best performances at 5-K intensity (about 95 percent of maximum heart rate), you should rest for no more than 30 seconds after your warmup; longer rests allow the heart rate to slow, thus slowing oxygen transport to the leg muscles. Your warmup should continue until just before the starting gun goes off, even if that means jogging in place in the starting area.

Scientific research on warming up has confirmed the following key points:

1. To enhance performance, your warmup should involve at least 10 minutes of continuous activity--long enough for the muscles to reach their optimum temperature.

2. The warmup should elevate your heart rate to about 70 to 80 percent of maximum. Less vigorous exercise doesn't seem to activate your cardiovascular system adequately, while more intense efforts can increase fatigue during the race.

3. For competition lasting more than 60 minutes, it's a good idea to interrupt your warmup briefly, 10 to 15 minutes before the start, to take in about 10 ounces of sports drink. The carbohydrate in the drink will help you sustain your pace as your muscle glycogen begins to run low. (Also sip at least 5 ounces of sports drink every 15 minutes during the race--but make sure to practice all of this in training.)

4. If you feel any muscle tightness while you're warming up, stop jogging for a moment and stretch out the tight area (but don't count this stretching time as part of your 10-minute minimum). Studies confirm that this jog-stretch-jog combination can significantly improve the flexibility of muscles and connective tissues.

5. As you begin to feel loose and ready to race, visualize yourself running fast, particularly over the toughest portions of the course.

6. Toward the end of the warmup, it's important to do a few 50- to 100-meter surges at approximately race pace. These surges "wake up" your nervous system and boost your coordination and efficiency.

7. If your race takes place on a hot, humid day, limit your warmup to 10 minutes and try to do it in a shady area to decrease your risk of overheating.

8. Even if it isn't hot out, warm up for no more than 15 to 20 minutes.

Follow the above guidelines before fast-paced workouts as well as races. Prior to less intense training sessions, you may not need to warm up, as you can gradually increase your pace during the workout. In effect, the first 2 miles of a moderately paced training run will act as the warmup.

And, if anyone is interested in coming to Oregon to run the inaugural Portland Half Marathon (or full marathon), registration is open! This is a beautiful course, fairly flat and well organized!


Ooo, I should tell Amber about this - oh wait she already reads this. :) We are looking for a fall marathon that also features a 1/2 marathon and is a somewhat flat course! Maybe this is our race!

Those are all good tips. I haven't ran a 5k in such a long time. Now that I've gotten my time down a bit on the 1/2 I've been thinking about training for a 5k and seeing how fast I can do it. Might be a spring goal.

Have fun racing tomorrow! I am crossing my fingers that it doesn't snow or rain on me!
Anonymous said…
Good luck on the 5k and have fun! :)

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