Summer is upon us, and for many, that means the heat is becoming a major factor.
For runners that are keen to race in the summer, especially those of us that prefer a bit longer race, there aren’t often a lot of options.
If you look hard enough, you might be able to find a trail race or two of substantial distance, but in terms of road races of 13.1 miles and up, it’s pretty slim pickings.
One race there tends to be no shortage of this time of year? 5ks.
3 Reasons to Race 5ks This Summer
I can’t believe I’m doing this, but I’m going to actually suggest that you might want to jump into a few 5ks between now and the end of the summer.
To be clear, I’m not saying that I’m going to jump into any 5ks this summer.
That won’t be happening.
But if you’re itching for a race, I think I can make an argument that it could really serve you well going forward.
Race Day Reps
There are certain aspects of race day that simply can’t be simulated in any type of training environment.
Starting too fast. Executing a race strategy. Running your own race.
If you’re struggling with one of these areas of race day performance, the only way to really practice, and hopefully improve, is to run more races.
It would not be advisable to run a handful of marathons, or even half marathons, in a 6-8 week span.
But running several 5ks in the next couple of months?
Yeah, that’s doable.
Getting some serious race day reps this summer gives you a chance to strengthen any race day weak links ahead of a big race you have planned for the fall.
High-Quality Hard Workouts
Hard workouts are, or at least should be, hard.
If you’re typically a solo runner, as I am, it can be a struggle to really nail a hard workout any time of the year but especially in the summer.
Shoot, there’s a reason I haven’t done a tempo workout in years: I’m simply not going to lock into the appropriate level of effort while training on my own.
But in a 5k? When other people are out ahead of you or trying to pass you?
You might just find it a bit easier to really buckle down and push yourself to your limits.
At least, I do.
If you’re looking to step up the intensity of your workouts a little bit this summer, it really is hard to beat jumping into a 5k and just laying it all on the line.
Maybe it’s just me, but long runs just kind of suck.
Long runs are bad enough on their own, but add heat/humidity/and the monotony of running the same routes through town all summer…
Yeah, that sucks.
If you’re more or less over your long runs at some point, jumping into a few 5ks during the summer can help break up the long run monotony.
Near as I can tell, there are two very viable ways of to do so:
- Race instead of long run.
- Race as part of long run.
Jumping into a 5k instead of the usual long run isn’t a bad way to shake yourself out of a mid-summer rut.
Hard. Fast. And over before you know it.
The other option, especially if you really want to hit a certain mileage total most weeks, is to incorporate the 5k into your long run as a fast finish.
If you grab 5-10 miles before the 5k, then push hard for the race, that’s a pretty high-quality workout that still ticks the long run box.
Sure, this might not be the best recipe for a 5k PR.
But it’s a great way to simulate digging deep on tired legs for the last few miles of a longer race.
And if nothing else, it’s not the “same old same old” long-run routine.
You Do You
I’m not going to lie, I make a pretty solid argument for jumping into a 5k this summer.
But if you’re up for throwing down for 3.1 miles a few times this summer, go for it!
And it might just help in your preparations for any longer races you have planned for this fall.
How Many 5ks are You Running This Summer?
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