July 4th “Firecracker” 5k Race Tips & Strategy.


running celebrationSo you’re running a July 4th 5k!!

Congrats!!! Leapfrog wishes YOU a Strong Race!! We are always here to help. Read a little further for some solid  tips and strategy for 5k racing.

At Leapfrog we believe Racing IS Passing. We also understand racing means different things to different people…We always ask our athletes to race with one of two purposes:

To have your BEST RACE/Achieve your Personal Record (P.R.) OR: To help someone else achieve their’s. While Racing IS Passing…sometimes it’s helping another runner past a struggle or helping them achieve their best!! It’s a great feeling and something we believe very stronglyat Leapfrog.

So…Here are our tips for 5k success. We hope you use them to achieve YOUR BEST and we invite you to SHARE them to help others ACHIEVE their best:

1. Relax. 5k racing can create stress and stress is not good for racing… You’ve registered for the race. You’re going to finish the race. so RELAX, breathe deep and accept the challenge you’ve created for yourself

2. Arrive EARLY on Race Day. This directly helps you relax. You don’t want to be rushed race morning AND you should always allow for a restroom break!! Don’t get caught having to choose between starting the race on time and going to the bathroom. That won’t help you relax.

3. Plan time for a Warm-Up jog. I know that 3.1 miles is a long distance…and I know some of us don’t like to run any further than we have to…BUT starting a race with cold muscles is not conducive to a strong performance. A warm up is always a great idea!! Don’t feel the need to start to early and DO NOT warm up to fast. Remember: There is no award for “winning the warm up!” So GO SLOWLY. You’re only trying to generate heat within the muscles to allow better blood flow (you are dialating the capilaries. A good warm can start 20 minutes before the start of the race; that should allow plenty of time.

3. Do a few short “Build Ups”. A build up is a short run of acceleration. You “build up” to a fast pace. Regardless of how fast you run a 5k, you should do a build up or two. This will help you go from your warm up pace to your race pace. Build Ups will allow your muscles to go through a greater range of motion than normal running and will thus ease the “shock” of the first mile.

Coach Matt on Video: Taking Inventory-4 Steps to Increased Capacity

Coach Matt on Video: Taking Inventory-4 Steps to Increased Capacity

4. Position yourself within the field of runners. As you prepare for the race to start, be certain to position yourself within the field at a place that is suitable to your run pace. In other words, don’t start in the back if you are planning to run fast. Likewise, don’t start in the front row unless you are planning on being near the front at the finish. REMEMBER: You will end up running whatever pace the people you surround yourself are running…So plan accordingly, don’t be shy, but be realistic too.

5. The race starts!! You go out with a good pace and enjoy the energy of the field. You want to keep yourself aware of “how” you are running. You want to “Take Inventory” of your effort (Please see Video Series Here.) Be certain to check how hard you are working early in the race…You’ve got 3.1 miles to go!! Don’t spend all your energy and effort in the first mile. Go out strong but under control. Manage your breath, relax your arms and shoulders.

6. Listen MORE to your BODY then the Clock. As you come to the 1 mile mark be sure to listen to your body . In other words…don’t let the time on the clock tell how to run… RUN STRONG, RUN SMART. Let your body dictate the pace, not the clock. (Most people go out feeling good, see the time at mile 1 and say, “Holy Cow! I can’t run THAT fast!! I better slow down.”) Try not to do this…especially if you’ve TRAINED for the race!! Keep Running Strong…take inventory, make adjustments if needed, and continue YOUR RACE.

7. Don’t be afraid of putting on a “Surge”. This just comes back to our philosophy that “Racing IS Passing!” See that girl or guy just in frontTriathlon Running, out of the water. of you? Why not make an effort to catch them?? What’s the worst that can happen??

8. Don’t be afraid to practice “Active Recovery” IF you need to. This just means that IF you push yourself too hard…it’s OK!! There is nothing wrong with taking a stretch of the race to slow down a bit, recovery your breath and regain control. You are running a 3.1 mile race, slowing down for 100 meters to catch your breath is not the end of the world. Be sure to keep strong posture and DO NOT COLLAPSE your upper chest. Check the video on Arm Postion to help demonstrate “how to” keep your posture.

9. Run Strong on miles 2 and 3. As you come into mile 2 just remember: The race doesn’t change much from here. Stay strong, keep your eyes up, try to relax and smile!! Run Strong with good form…you’re 2/3’s done!!

10. The Finish!! As you come past the 3 mile mark and see the finish you want to be thinking: “Take a good picture!” Why? Because when we take a good picture we have good Run Form!! Our eyes are up, our face is relaxed, we are smiling, our arms strong, our chest forward…ALL GOOD FUNDAMENTALS OF RUN FORM!! So…Finish Strong and “Take a Good Picture!”

11. Celebrate YOUR RACE and CHEER ON other Runners!! Be grateful for your effort!! Head Up, Deep Breaths and Applause for what you’ve accomplished and for those around you!!

I trust these tips will help this 4th of July and for all your upcoming 5k races!!

Wishing YOU all the SUCCESS you’ve earned!!

Be sure to check out our website often for more tips, videos and strategies as we help you “LEAP THE COMPETITION” Check out, too, our Power Running Series…STARTING SOON!!

Leapfrog Athletics: “Prepare Yourself”

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