I tried something different for a 5K race this past weekend. I was supposed to run the Shell Yeah challenge as part of the Crawlin’ Crab weekend here in Hampton, VA. The challenge consisted of a 5K race on Saturday and a Half Marathon on Sunday.
It was decided that I should run the 5K on Saturday as a shakeout run. I have been dealing with some pretty severe leg and hip issues that have put a serious dent in my training block. I had actually only run one time in the past two weeks.
The other consideration was how was I going to run my race on Sunday. How was I going to place myself in the corrals — I was scheduled to be in Corral 1 for both races. This placement was problematic for me because I have a tendency to go out strong and then sag in the middle of the race.
I had to find a way to govern myself and not let my competitive nature run away with me. So on Saturday, I decided to line up at the back of the race. There were four corrals, and I was in the back of Corral 4. I then proceeded to run the race at a much slower pace than I normally do. This worked really well because at the back of the pack, there are many walkers and newer runners.
This meant that as I ran, I passed people the whole time. I may not have been going at the same pace as normal, but it felt fast. This was very nice psychologically. I felt really motivated. In the end, I wound up passing around 1500 people.
This idea of running from the back of the field came to me from an article I read about Meb Keflezighi doing the same thing at the Peachtree 10 Miler – Keflezighi runs down pack at AJC Peachtree. While I could never be like Meb, I got a chance to feel like I was.
Give this a try. It is a ton of fun and gives a whole new feel to a race. However, make sure that the race is chip-timed.