The 5000m: Talking Track with Ryan Dohner

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.

Rest and Reset: Mike Wardian’s Top 5 Recovery Tips

If you know anything about HOKA Athlete Mike Wardian, you know that this guy is an endurance machine. He is no stranger to finishing multiple marathons within a week. Two of his 2016 adventures include running through Cuba and Iceland. He even aims to complete marathons on all seven continents within seven days, and we don’t doubt that he will do it. So how does Mike handle recovery?

We sat down with Mike to hear his top 5 tips. He keeps it simple. In true Mike Wardian fashion, he suggests the most important way to stay on your feet is to never stop moving.

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1) Hydrate-I know that it seems obvious but staying up on fluids helps flush out all the junk that accumulates after a hard effort.

2) Fear the Chair– Keep moving. I think a lot of us when we finish a big event or run want to just sit down and rest. While that is ok for a few minutes, I find it really useful to walk, shuffle, whatever but don’t just stop as you body will lock up and feel terrible. If I keep moving, my body allows me to push it again.

3) Eat- I am not great at this and I wouldn’t say, eating right away is always best because sometimes your body can be “all done” with food after a huge run but if you can start the recovery process with some quality, tasty food and drink it goes a long way to getting your body nourished and on the road to recovery.  I like to eat things that are high in vitamin C, fruits, veggies, breads, really whatever your body is craving…as your body will guide you in what it needs.

4) Share– Let people know what you are trying to achieve and this will help you keep motivated and I think that helps with recovery.  

5) Stay positive- Our minds are incredible and allow us to do so many unbelievable things. We really need to be in the right frame of mind and be appreciative and thankful for the chance to be out there. It allows our bodies to keep pushing the limits of what is possible.

The 800m: Talking Track with Mike Rutt

One of our favorite middle distance races of the big event is coming up tonight. The 800m is two laps of intense competition. It is long enough to require strategy but quick enough for results to change almost instantly. Current world record holder David Rushida, who ran 1:40.91 at the 2012 big event, will be competing again tonight to defend his title.

We can’t wait to watch what happens in #Reeyo. HOKA Athlete Mike Rutt, who runs a 1:45.08 800m, is here to weigh in on what it takes to compete in what he believes in the toughest event in track and field. We thought this would be good practice, as we congratulate Mike on his recent retirement as a professional athlete to become a coach. Thanks for your great input, Coach Mike!


HOKA: What is a good strategy for the 800?

Rutt: Everybody has little bit of a different strategy and it is really based off of our strengths and weaknesses. For me, I tend to be stronger athlete aerobically, so I usually go out a little bit slower during the first 200.  I try to stay relaxed during the first 300-400 meters. As I approach the second lap, I evaluate where I’m at in the field and make my adjustments accordingly to put myself in the best position to win. During the last 150 meters I slowly try to turn over my legs a little bit quicker until I’m going all out the last 50. My plan doesn’t always work perfectly, but when it does, it feels so good!

HOKA: Do you have any tips for this event?

Rutt: First and foremost, be willing and able to adapt to any situation.  The 800 can throw so many different curveballs at you and if you’re not prepared, it can really catch you off-guard. Second, always be aware of your surroundings. The 800 can be a physical race and it’s easy to get caught up in someones legs causing you to stumble and potentially fall. Finally, don’t kill yourself during the first 400! Going out too aggressively can cause your body to hit the wall very early in the race and it can be a tough last 200-300 meters.

HOKA: What was your most memorable 800m race?

Rutt: My most memorable race was my first time competing at the US Championships in 2009 at Hayward Field.  In the prelim, I drew Bernard Lagat, Khadevis Robinson, David Krummenacker, and Duane Solomon.  These were all men that I had watched a number of times on TV and had accomplished so much in each of their careers to that point.  At 400m I found myself shoulder to shoulder with Khadevis which is where I would stay through the rest of the race to finish 2nd.  I got done and was shocked that I was able to compete at that level and beat some really good guys.

HOKA: What is your opinion of the 800?

Rutt: Hands down, toughest running event in track and field…in my opinion. I know some people believe that the 400 hurdles is the toughest event. To be fair, I have never run the 400 hurdles so I don’t speak from experience. However, I think that adding the strategic piece to the 800 makes the event more difficult.

HOKA: Who is the best 800m runner in the world?

Rutt: David Rudisha is the best 800m runner in the world. I have not doubted that for a second since I watched him set the World Record in 2012. He makes the event look effortless when you watch him. And then when you race him, he makes you feel really slow!

HOKA: What is a good practice plan for the 800?

Rutt: Every day is different. For workouts, we like to work both our sprinting speed and our aerobic (usually 5k effort) speed. If you work both ends of the spectrum, it makes racing the 800 much easier. On heavy workout days, we will do track session in the morning for about 2 hours and in the afternoon we will do about one hour of work in the gym along with some more cardio work.

HOKA: What is a good meal to eat before an 800?

Rutt: I like to eat a relatively light meal 4-5 hours before any race that I do. Usually something like a small deli sandwich or some oatmeal depending on the time of day of the race. The last thing that I want to be thinking about when I step to the line is how my stomach is feeling. I already have a million other thoughts going through my head.

HOKA: What are some good exercises or stretches for building sprinting speed?

Rutt: When you’re trying to build your pure sprinting speed, doing explosive and powerful exercises in the weight room are very beneficial. Anything from power cleans to medicine ball tosses can be helpful. When you’re in the weight room doing these exercises, remember that less is more. You don’t want to be doing one hours worth of powerful, explosive exercises. Instead, doing 2-3 exercises with around 2-4 sets and 3-6 reps are the most beneficial. Dynamic stretching is a great way for us all to stretch our muscles while also putting them through the range of motion. Static stretching is not very beneficial! The days of us touching our toes for 30 seconds in gym class is over. So stay away from doing static stretching!

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HOKA: What shoes would you recommend for running an 800?

Rutt: I love the HOKA spikes! My favorites are the Rocket MD for racing the 800m. They keep my on my toes and give my a stiff spike plate which just fits my foot really really well. I wear the Evo for anything longer than 800 meters and I love them for their comfort!

A HOKA Runner’s Guide to IRONMAN Kona

When you explore a place on foot, you see the things others do not. You discover the place locals go to grab a cup of coffee, the best place for a pint, and the best places to stop, stretch and breathe in some fresh air. At HOKA, we have runners all over the world who know their towns best. So we’ll be sharing HOKA runner’s favorite destinations in their hometown for visitors to get the local experience. We’ll begin with the towns many people travel to compete and watch IRONMAN races around the country. Our next stop is Kona, Hawaii.Want to be a part of the HOKA events happening around IRONMAN Kona? Here is your quick guide. Scroll down further to see how seasoned triathlete Eric Gilsenan likes to spend his trip. Also, check out the Limited Edition Kona Clayton here.

HOKA Events:

Run the Energy Lab with Dave Scott

A 4-mile run with 6-time IRONMAN Champion Dave Scott through the hallowed grounds of the Natural Energy Lab, where some of the greatest Ironman races have been won and lost. Meet at Kona Coffee & Tea on Palani Hill at 7:15am on Wednesday October 5th. Shuttle buses leave the coffee shop at 7:30am. Run starts at 8:00am. Participation is limited to the first 40 athletes. Register on October 3rd, at the HOKA booth located in the IRONMAN expo at the Hale Halawai! HOKA will have demo shoes on-hand for participants to try out and test (some sizes will be limited). 

HOKA Ladies Run With Julie Moss

This ladies only run features Julie Moss, known for one of the most famous finishes in IRONMAN history at Kona in 1982. Run down Ali’I, test out the newest HOKA models, and enjoy refreshments after. Leaves from the HOKA booth in the in IRONMAN expo at 8:30am, Friday October 7th.

Underpants Run

The infamous underpants run will be taking place on Thursday October 6th at 7:30am. The best part? You can donate $5 to receive a pair of HOKA underpants. The race begins a the Courtyard King Kamehameha’s Kona Beach Hotel, and will cover 1.5 miles. Register here by October 3rd.

HOKA Snapchat Takeovers

Follow the HOKA Snapchat for athlete takeovers leading up to IRONMAN KONA. (@HOKAofficial)

HOKA Athlete Signings

Stop by the HOKA booth to meet some of your favorite triathletes.

Meet Heather Jackson, Luke McKenzie, Leanda Cave, and Kevin Collington Tuesday October 4th, 6pm-7pm.

Meet Dave Scott and Julie Moss Wednesday October 5th, 12pm-1pm.

Meet Lauren Goss, Angela Naeth, and Joe Gambles Wednesday October 5th, 2:30pm-3:30pm.

HOKA Kona Coffee and Tea Takeover

Stop by Kona Coffee and Tea during race week (6am-6:30 pm Monday-Friday, 8am-8pm Saturday) for daily specials on drinks and sneak peaks at the latest HOKA models. Sign up at the HOKA booth for a race day VIP wrist band to watch the big race from Kona Coffee and Tea.

Breakfast With Bob Babbitt

Tune in for Breakfast with triathlon legend Bob Babbitt here for athlete interviews and all the updates you need for IRONMAN Kona.

Facebook Live with Dave Scott and Bob Babbitt

Tune in on the HOKA Facebook page on October 8th for a race day chat with Dave and Bob. Come ready with questions for the comment section! Dave and Bob are here to answer your questions from 12:30pm-1pm.

Eric Gilsenan’s Kona Favorites:

HOKA: What is special about Kona?

Gilsenan: Kona is the Holy Grail of Triathlon. The race conditions are brutal, unless you’ve done Kona, or better yet, it does you, you’ll never ever know how brutal. Triathlon started on 9-25-74 in San Diego but Kona is where triathlon was put on the endurance sports map when ABC Wide World of Sport’s Jim Lampley called Julie Moss as she finished her Cal Poly SLO Senior Class project of completing an IRONMAN by crawling across the finish line in 1982. If you do the sport of triathlon you inevitably want/dream/dare to do IRONMAN Kona. IMG_0773

HOKA: What’s a good scenic or interesting place for a short run? What’s your favorite run route?

Gilsenan: I like running down Alii drive toward Keahoe but on race week it can get too busy and congested. I like heading out in the opposite direction to the Old Airport. When you are running on the old runway and see the abandon terminal you just can imagine the planes of the 1940s and 50s landing and taking off. There are many paths cut through the Old Airport Park. The close proximity of less than a mile from the Old Airport to the pier is amazing. The beach at the Old Airport has some great swimming and snorkeling as well. 

HOKA: What’s the best coffee or breakfast spot?

Gilsenan: In Kona drink Kona coffee! Hands down, go to Kona Coffee & Tea. This is where the locals go, that’s always a true sign of quality, go where the locals go, it is locally owned by a young woman who right out of a local high school started another coffeeshop down by the Kona Marina on the Queen K. She’s been quite successful and leased her current building on Palani as soon as Starbucks (the former tenant) pulled out. She’s kept things authentic, her family owns a coffee plantation. It’s not too expensive and the homemade baked goods are made with local ingredients.


HOKA: Where should someone go to eat a post-race meal (or brew)?

Gilsenan: Huggo’s on the Rocks, Kona Inn or Kona Brewery will always have something on the menu you’ll like and they are all within a 1/2 mile of Dig Me Beach. If you have time and budget head past the KOA airport to Waikoloa Roy’s or the Four Seasons awaits you. 

HOKA: Where should someone go to get any last-minute running or racing gear?

Gilsenan: The Ironman Expo Village at the Hale Halaii has almost anything you will need. HP Bike Works or Big Island Running company will have anything the expo doesn’t offer. HP Bike Works is owned by the great Grant Miller. Almost 30 years on Island, He is a gentleman, a great bike tech who has McGiver like skills with anything on 2 wheels. 

HOKA: Anything else to see/do/experience in this town in a short weekend trip?

Gilsenan: Always try to support small local companies and restaurants while in Kona. Also remember where you are, respect the locals and respect where you are, Kona and Hawaii, it is not your average terrain or township. If you do that whatever else you do will go great. Swim every day. Go out to see the lava tunnels on the Queen K out by the KOA Airport. Go up high on Palani to see the view of Kona from above 1000′ or more if you so desire to climb.