Race Preview & Training Update: Twilight 5k

By: Brian Elder

It's been a while since I have given a training update so I thought I would update our audience on what has been in the works. Since the last training update, Trey has added two more marathons under his belt so I feel a little bit like the lazy run coach here at Connect Run Club.

While Trey has been running multiple races, I have seen an expansion in the running community that I have been surrounded by. It has taken time, but I have been able to get my foot into the Athens running community more than ever and now meet on average 3 to 4 times per week with other runners, almost all of whom are faster than I am. The idea of running with people who are faster intimidates a lot of beginning runners. They think...

What if I can't keep up? What if they don't let me join them for a run again? Is it better that I run by myself than risk being left behind? 

Courtesy of online athens

My advice: run with faster people anyway. Even if it is uncomfortable. If you want to get faster you have to run faster. You might be a little more sore than usual and there may even be runs where you can't keep the pace, but what will be difficult to understand in the moment is that those times that you do keep up with them just before falling off the pace will prepare you for success and faster times in the future. 

Because I have recently had the privilege to run with people who are faster and I haven't run a 5k in over a year, I have chosen to do a shorter and faster 5k race in the spring. If you live or know anything about the Athens running community, the spring for almost every competitive and serious runner is the Twilight 5k. The Twilight Criterium is a bicycle race and one of the best (my personal favorite) events that occurs annually in the streets of downtown Athens. Road are crowded and lined with people who come to watch the local bike race. The Twilight 5k that happens on the Saturday morning of the bike race brings out some of the fastest male and female runners because the top 15 runners qualify for a mile race with a cash prize of $1000 the evening before the bike race. The mile is a two lap course that loops around the outside streets of downtown. 

If you want to view the course you can view it here. The course which starts downtown moves onto Prince and past the Bottleworks shops. Runners continue and turn right onto Nacoochee Avenue a few block before Normal town and right again onto the hilliest section of the course on Boulevard. After making it through the hills and mile 2, runners will twist and turn on Barrow and Barber Streets behind downtown before making a turn on Pulaski St. to head back to the finish. 

Now my expectations for this race are not to make it in the top 15 and mile race (its a fast group of runners). If I am lucky and its a slower group I might be able to sneak in one of the last few spots, but my ultimate goal is to set a PR in the 5k. Its been a long time since I have consistently hit speed workouts on the track and I plan to use these to help gain back speed. 


Brian Elder is a learner, amateur explorer, and runner that is going to run until it takes him somewhere. He is a graduate from the University of Georgia where he studied English and Religion. After running competitively on trails and roads, he fuels with an appetite so big you would swear it’s competitive.  Follow Brian on Instagram.