The track is where most of the M2M coaches first fell in love with the sport, and it was vital to their development as athletes. Many folks who get into the sport later in life mainly use the track as a training venue and have never had the opportunity to throw down in a proper track race. We started Chase the Pace to give our crew the opportunity to have a full-on 5,000m race effort on the track.

What is Chase the Pace?

Chase The Pace (CTP) is not your standard track meet. Most track meets are rather stale and quite honestly, somewhat boring. We try to do things differently with CTP. We want people to have a good time out there, so we have music, food, beer, and other cool stuff to help promote a fun environment.

The main thing about CTP, however, is the actual running. We want people to run their guts out and hopefully set a PB in the process. We help facilitate this in a few ways. First off, the event has the previously mentioned kick-ass vibe. We put people in heats with other runners of similar ability, because running with a group is always easier than having at it solo.

Pacers are the secret sauce

Racing is hard, you have a lot to think about, we don’t need you worrying about splits or pacing – that’s why we have pacers. They will take care of all of that for you. We have sections for all levels, from sub 16:00 to 27:30, no matter your ability, we will have a pace for you.

The track is the place to test your fitness

To be the best runner you can be you have to cover all your bases. There are the easy aerobic runs, tempo runs, long runs and speed work to be crushed. We often choose track as our surface of choice for speed work. The surface is flat, the distance is accurate and it is the most controlled environment we can get which makes it the perfect place for all-out efforts. The track is the place to find out exactly how fit you are.

The 5,000m is a great distance to test yourself

5,000m is a tricky distance – if you go out too fast you suffer. If you’re struggling at 2km, that’s a problem, but if you’re struggling at 3km you can usually stick it out. It’s all about staying strong and being focused and gauging your effort well. That’s why we have our pacers there to help.

Approaching the track as a first timer

Pacing for a first timer is a bit of trial and error. You can’t just step on a track and know what effort you can sustain for a prolonged period of time. Err on the side of caution if it is your first time. Go slow and keep the effort manageable. Now let’s apply this to a track workout, for example, 10x400m. Start at a pace that you know you can sustain, for example, 2minutes per lap. If you handle this well then you know that next time you can go harder, but if you go out too hard and only get in a few efforts before slowing down you don’t really know where you are at. The more time you spend on the track the better you will get at judging efforts. This will translate not only to your ability to pace track workouts, but also your judge of pace in general for all types of training.

Using racing to inform training paces

An all-out 5,000m effort such as CTP can be a big help to help set paces for future track sessions as it will give you a clear picture as to where your fitness currently is.

Getting ready to race

Before each M2M track session, we do a 2-3km warm-up, followed by a series of drills and strides. Warming up pre-race should look very similar to this. No need to change from what you are used to. Keep it consistent and familiar.

Make sure to cool-down after the race! This is a full-on effort, you are going to accumulate a lot of lactate in the muscles, even a slow 2km jog afterward will help to flush some of that junk and allow for quicker recovery. Then go have a beer.

Using racing on the track as a training tool

Racing can be an awesome training tool because in a race you can dig deeper, push harder and suffer harder than you can during a workout. And as a result, you will get both physically stronger, and mentally tougher.

Even if you are training for a marathon, a 5,000m has its benefits. It will increase your speed, bump your V02max, increase pain tolerance and help your running economy.

It is also short enough that it can fit seamlessly into your training plan- the recovery is often much quicker than other race distances, so you can get right back to normal training after a couple easy days. It is basically a hard ass speed work day.

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