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The 5000m: Talking Track with Ryan Dohner

Posted on August 20 2016

The 5k is a go to distance for runners looking to participate in their first race. Sometimes, it is easy to forget that the 5000m event is a staple for cross country and track. Tonight in #Reeyo, athletes such as Mo Farah and a certain Peruvian athlete wearing your new favorite spikes will take to the track to compete in an intense final.

We wanted to learn more about the event. Ryan Dohner is an experience 5000m runner, who has a 13:45.25 PR. Let’s Talk Track with the NAZ Elite athlete.

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HOKA: What is a good race strategy for the 5000m?

Dohner: Your strategy in a 5000m depends on how the race you are in is run. If the pace goes out fast, then it is important to relax and stay close to the leaders if you want to win. For a slow and tactical race, it is very important to maintain position on the inside of the track without having to make too many sudden moves. If you are racing to run a certain time instead of place, you should focus on running the first half of the race slower than the second half. This raises your probability of not blowing up both physically and mentally.

HOKA: What is it like to run this race?

Dohner: The 5000m feels intense the whole time and requires mild relaxation until the last 3-4 laps. In my experience the 5000m is more painful than both the 1500m and 10k if you are running at a pace slightly harder than you have experienced before. The race itself doesn’t receive as much glory as the 1500m or marathon, but is equally worthy of the same attention. Any race where you have both buttlock and complete oxygen debt is worth some respect!

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HOKA: In your opinion, who is the best 5000m runner?

Dohner: At the moment Mo Farah is dominant at the 5000m distance. He has the fastest 15000m and 10k times of any 5000m in the world. When you combine these two capabilities, Farah is very hard to beat. However, in my opinion Kenenisa Bekele is the greatest 5k runner of all time. His strength is unmatched by any 5k runner ever. I believe in his prime he was never pushed to his full potential as Farah has been.

HOKA: What are your Top 3 tips for racing 5000m?

Dohner: Don’t make hard surges the first half of the race. Race your competitors and don’t worry about the time. Turn left.

HOKA: What would a typical day of practice training for a 5000m event look like?

Dohner: The training for a 5000m is a mix of aerobic and anaerobic workouts. For a strength workout, 4-5 mile tempos are a good way to simulate the fatigue you feel over the course of the 5000m race. Workouts that teach the body to become comfortable at race pace and simulate the anaerobic feel of the 5k would be 3x3x800m starting off slower than race pace and finishing faster. Another good pace workout might be 16x400m at 5000m pace with a 45 second rest.

HOKA: Which HOKA model is appropriate for this race?

Dohner: The HOKA ONE ONE Rocket LD is the perfect spike for the 5000m. I remember the first time I put this spike on I felt at ease with the first line of HOKA spikes! The aggressive plate and comfortable feel makes the pace of the 5000m much easier to handle than most spikes on the market. The shoe hugs perfectly to the shape of my foot when I run on the track or grass. I would highly recommend it for any high school, collegiate, or pro runner who wants to run anything from the 800-5k.

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HOKA: Do you have any weight training or stretching suggestions to become faster at the 5000m?

Dohner: The 5000m race is a blend of strength and speed. Strength training is a huge asset when the race gets tough and the body breaks down. Exercises that load the hips, glutes, and back help the body to stay upright and strong towards the latter part of the race. Strengthening the core is also important so that you are able to sustain upright posture and breathe easier for a longer period of time. Medicine ball exercises can be helpful in targeting very specific stabilizer muscles in the entire core region. All in all, having a strong but flexible body is just as important as having a good aerobic system.

HOKA: What is a good meal to eat pre 5000m race and why?

Dohner: If you are racing a 5000m at night, there is a lot of time to make either good or bad eating decisions. I have found that bland foods are the safest option the day of race. For example breakfast may consist of oatmeal with eggs and fruit; brown rice, chicken and veggies for lunch; finally a snack of greek yogurt, dates, and oatmeal a few hours before the race.

HOKA: What was your most memorable 5000m race?

Dohner: Out of the many different 5k races I have run, my collegiate freshman year race at Mt. Sac University stands out the most. Any race where you go in without expectations can make the outcome more exciting. I went into the race not having any idea how I would fair against the other runners 2-5 years older than me. Halfway in the race I took the lead until my Eric Fernandez pulled away over the last 800 meters. I was surprised by my time (13:56) and the way I competed in my first outdoor 5k of my life.

 

Want to learn more? Check out Mike Rutt’s 800m Track Talk.

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