Couch to 5K

5K Race - Starting advice please

I'm a little nervous about starting in a huge group of runners (tripping, running too fast...) and would love to hear your strategies and advice for getting through the start of a race. I'm expecting things will even out after the initial push and am really looking forward to my first-ever race since bottling out of a 200m race at School Sports Day sometime last century!!

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Well, it all depends on what you mean by a "race" and by a "huge group" :) I went on a Parkrun over Easter where there were 300 people all trying to run on a narrow track :) - and I am in training for this event in August I am not sure that any strategy is going to work for me in that :)

Seriously though -- Running too fast at the beginning is probably going to be your biggest danger - and we all do it. By the way, the training that I am doing is a programme designed to " finish in the upright position" :) That is what I am aiming to do.


There will be 700-800 runners and the run is called a 'Race' though, I too, aim to finish in the upright position and am treating it as a 'fun run' as far as finishing time is concerned!

All the best for your race - looks like quite an event.


Let us know how you get on. I'm toying with the idea of joining a parkrun but worry it might be too competitive and I try going to fast at the start to keep up! I like the idea of finishing in an upright position ;)


Parkrun is and isn't "competitive". The ones up the front are definitely competitive -- but who cares, I never ever see them anyway, except when they lap me :) I have been to about 6 different Parkrun courses here in Australia ( and I am sure it is the same in the UK) - and there are all kinds, young and old, fast and slow, with and without dogs/prams :)

The object is simply to traverse your body over 5Klms in as fast a time as you can personally manage and however you can manage - and everybody is a WINNER!!!


Good luck with your race - I'm doing my first one ever in a few weeks too. Would love to know how yours goes


I go right to the back of the crowd. When everyone sets off, I start really slowly and let them all get ahead. Then I concentrate on doing as well as I can. If I manage to pass someone, I count that as a great victory each time. I've worked hard on trying to feel OK (well, OKish) about coming in last.

This is my new strategy. In my previous running incarnation 10 years ago, I used to start off far too fast to keep up with the pack. I never managed to keep up, but also blew up from going faster than was possible for me, so performed even worse than otherwise.

The beauty of Parkruns, or of recording your times on is that you get a WAVA score. This lets you compare how you are doing with people of different gender and age. I find it hugely encouraging. For example, I am generally last in my Parkruns, doing 5K in 41-45 minutes. However, as a 60-year-old female, my WAVA score puts me on par with men in their early 30s doing the same distance in about 30 minutes. Discovering the WAVA score has helped me enormously in stopping some of those negative voices in my head.

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Good luck I have just finished week 7 and I am doing a 6k race next Thursday for Breast Cancer I know I haven't finished the programme yet but I am sure I can do it :)


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