Tips and Tricks for a Fabulous Time at Sunday’s Superior 5K6 min read
This Sunday is the 2nd annual Superior 5K, and I am REALLY excited! This is a great opportunity to see friends and neighbors, start the day with a fun workout, and enjoy a beautiful morning in downtown Superior. For those who ran the race last year, I can confirm from my course preview a few weeks ago that although the course is basically the same as last year, there has been a lot of development progress made and you’re going to see some new sights along the course – exciting 🙂
Race day is looking good for weather – partly cloudy, with temps expected at 69 degrees. This is pretty perfect for summer running! If you’re aiming for a personal best time, note that the first and second miles have net elevation gain of 25 feet each, and the third mile has a net elevation loss of 44 feet, with the final tenth of a mile having a net elevation loss of 6 feet. As a result, your pacing plan should feature negative splits (where you get faster in the last mile).
To get more in depth on the course: it starts with a bit of a downhill through the first half mile, as you descend to Coal Creek Trail. The next mile is a very slight and steady incline (80 feet of gain total) up to Founders Park. The northwest corner of Founders Park (intersection of Sycamore and 76th) is both the halfway point of the race as well as the high point of the course – woo hoo! From there, it’s a gradual downhill back down to Coal Creek at mile 2.8. Unfortunately, you do have a climb back along 36 and up to the Sports Stable, but you’ve got less than a third of a mile to go! And the last tenth of a mile is pure downhill – a victory lap as you round the corner of the Sports Stable and fly downhill to the arched finish 🙂
What if you’re out looking to have a good time rather than just a fast time? I’ve got you covered there. Here are my top tips for you (and the whole family) to have fun on the course.
1. When picking out your race day wardrobe, make sure to wear an outfit / shoes you’re comfortable in – and ideally that you’ve run in before. Don’t wear new shoes or gear on race day, or you may regret it when something is more annoying than you expected. Personally, I am planning to wear my Superior Mile shirt, which usually brings me good luck in races!If possible, pick up your race packet on Saturday afternoon at Brunelleschi’s rather than on race day. This way you can get your bib pinned on at home and show up all ready to run, without worrying about waiting in line at the start.
2. If you’re running solo, make a fun playlist with some motivating songs. I usually like to have more music in my playlist than I think I’ll have time for. That way, if I’m not feeling a song, I can skip to the next one and still not run out of music. Just make sure whatever headphones you use still allow you to hear what’s going on around you, and keep the volume low. Remember, if you can’t hear your own footfalls, your music is too loud.
3. On your way to the race, play a motivational anthem in the car on the way to the start – this will help you get hyped up and ready to run. I am planning to listen to “This is Me”, both on my way to the race and also whenever I get tired on the course and need a boost. This was the theme song at the grief camp where I volunteered two weeks ago (more details on my personal blog here). It’s a really powerful song, and when I’m thinking about those kids, there’s no way I’m giving up! At Sunday’s race, there is also a warmup being led by 9Round Fitness, so that will help you get energized and ready to run.
4. Make sure you line up in the right spot. Last year, the race organizers called forward those who hoped to run sub-20 minutes first, and then had everyone else start in waves behind. Remember, the race is chip timed (meaning the clock doesn’t start until you cross the start line), so there’s no advantage to starting earlier! If you start with people at your pace, you’ll be a lot more comfortable than if you start with people much faster than you, who will then spend the first mile passing you. If anything, it can be kind of fun to start later and get a mental boost by passing people as you go 😉
5. On that note, I’d definitely encourage you to start slow and pick up the pace as you go. I am very guilty of going out way too fast in races and then burning out, and this course is a bit conducive to that because of the downhill for the first half mile. Allow yourself to go with the downhill, and visualize letting your feet fall down the hill. But don’t use up too much energy going down, because you’ll need that energy to get up to Founders Park, and then back up from Coal Creek to the Sports Stable in the last half mile.
6. If you do get tired, try smiling or cheering on your fellow runners. The Superior 5K is a lollipop loop course, so chances are you’ll get to see some of your friends and neighbors on the course around Coal Creek Drive (whether ahead of you or behind you). Research has found that smiling can make you feel better when you’re tired, and for me personally, I’ve found that cheering someone else on makes me psychologically feel like I have more energy (kind of a “fake it till you make it” approach).
7. If you’re running with your kids: try running a little bit, then walking a little bit. Make a game out of it – see if you can race to the next corner, then take a walk break. For serious runners, this kind of interval workout is called doing “fartleks” – a Swedish word that means “speed play.” Teaching your kids that word may also help them smile 🙂
Finally, if you haven’t signed up yet, what are you waiting for?! Come join me on Sunday morning for a fabulous time! Visit RunSignup to register, and you can email me for a $5 off code to bring your registration fee down to only $23. That gets you not only race entry but a fun goodie bag packed with stuff, and even a free post-race beer at Brunelleschi’s.
I’ll be arriving to the race start early on Sunday morning to provide a pacing chart customized to the course, as well as answer any questions you might have to help you run your best time. And, I’ll be sticking around afterward as well to cheer on as many runners as I can coming through the finish. If you see me (wearing that same outfit I’m wearing in the above picture of last year’s race), be sure to come by and say hello. I’m looking forward to meeting many of you there!