5 Training Tips for Briggs and Al’s Run

Coach Mike Nelson

Mike Nelson, Marquette University cross-country coach and assistant track & field coach, offers his five training tips if you’re running Briggs and Al’s Run on Sept. 15th. You can sign up to join the Marquette team for the race HERE

1) Figure out your goal

8k (4.96 miles) can be an odd racing distance.  If this is the first time you have run an 8k, you might be wondering what would be a good goal time.  An easy way to figure out your goal time is to use the McMillan Racing Calculator. For example, a person who runs 24:00 for 5k could shoot for 39:33 for an 8k.   A person who runs 4 hours for the marathon could shoot for 40:35 for an 8k.  I have found this calculator to be a handy tool in converting various racing performances.

2) Train at race pace

Once you have figured out your goal pace, you want to do some training at that pace. Using a marked bike path, Garmin, or 400m track, do multiple runs or workouts at you goal race pace. Example, 4 x 1 mile at goal pace, or 6 x ½ mile at goal pace.  In the actual race, I recommend trying to hit your first mile at 5-10 seconds SLOWER than goal pace. As I tell my athletes, you can always pick up the pace during a race.  Once you’re out too hard though, it can be a painful journey on your way to the finish-line.

3) Race your pace 

The first mile of the Briggs and Al’s run is mostly downhill.  Don’t fall for the common trap of thinking, “it’s downhill, I can bank some time by going out a little harder than normal.”  In distance running, as much as you might try, you don’t bank time.  I tell my athletes that for every second they go out too hard, it will end up costing them three seconds at the finish.

4) Warm up

Make sure you warm-up before the race.  I recommend 5-10 minutes of light jogging to get the blood pumping and to get the central nervous system firing. You want to make sure your heart rate is elevated as the gun is fired.

5) Stick to the plan! 

Don’t let a competitor, friend, or co-worker throw off your game plan.  This happens all the time in racing.  You start with a race plan but then your competitive drive over-rides your intention.  Run smart, have fun, and help a great cause!

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