AMCP Foundation 5K Run / 1MI Walk For the Future

Tips for Running in Denver


Health is critical, even on the road! The Foundation brought fitness enthusiasts together for a new “sweatworking” opportunity designed to encourage healthy living while on the road!

• Take a short walk/run upon arriving in Denver to get the body used to the altitude.
• Breathing deeply/fully (focusing on fully exhaling) is good to ensure using full lung capacity.
• Slowing the effort slightly on any uphill sections is also important since uphill will exacerbate the higher altitude as it requires more effort to maintain the same pace. (You can make up for it on the following flat/downhill.)

We also recommend that everyone adjust any target times or pace per mile splits slightly on race day. (i.e., ~20-30 sec/mile slower in the first mile should be sufficient to allow the body to settle in, and then you can go by feel for the remainder of the race.) People tend to start out too hard, and then their pace fades and they struggle more in the final mile, whereas someone who is more conservative in Mile 1 and allows their body to warm up will have the opportunity to run stronger, later.

On the training side, for a 5K it really depends on the runner. Someone who is more of a run/walker and just looking to finish should be able to train/race pretty much as normal. The better the runner/athlete, then the more they can do ahead of time during training. Doing sets of very short/hard hill repeats at 5K or sub-5K effort are helpful to elevate the heart rate/cardio systems and get a runner used to performing at a harder effort.

The hill can be as short as 100 meters, 200 meters, or as long as a quarter mile. The runner should push the pace hard enough that they are fully winded (anaerobic) at the top of the repeat, but not so hard that they are forced to walk before reaching the finish. Then you will recover VERY slow/easy back down the hill with a slow jog and/or walk to get the heart rate back down before doing the next one. Doing 4-6 of these hill repeats during the strength phase will really help with building cardio strength and prep you mentally for the feeling of running at higher elevation. (Don’t forget the slow/relaxed warmup & cooldown parts of any hard workout.)

We also recommend that more experienced runners do a 10-15 minute pre-race warmup jog and 4-6 relaxed strides just to wake the legs/body up, and this will allow your body to perform better in the race. And last but not least… Just have fun. You don’t come to Colorado expecting to set a 5K personal record! :-)

Runners of all experience levels can view our recommended training plans for the 5K.

Tips provided by David Manthey with Runner's Edge of the Rockies.