Mo Farah ensured he did just enough but no more to move a step closer to the double-double by cruising through his 5,000 metres heat at the World Championships in Moscow.
The Briton is looking to become only the second man ever after Ethiopian great Kenenisa Bekele to win both long-distance titles at the Olympics and the Worlds.
He therefore conserved as much energy as possible with Friday's final in mind, easing up on the final lap to come home safe in fifth place.
Farah admitted on Sunday his 10,000m race the previous night was tougher than he thought it would be, and was content to do the bare minimum at the Luzhniki Stadium this morning to keep his body fresh for another medal bid.
He sat in third or fourth for most of the race before moving to the front on the third to last lap.
As Ethiopian heat winner Muktar Edris and two Kenyans moved past him looking to finish strongly, Farah had more to lose than gain by responding and eased over the line in 13 minutes 23.93 seconds, just behind American training partner Galen Rupp.
"That was all right," he said. "I just wanted to do as little work as possible to be fresh in the legs, ready for the final and I did that.
"I've just been resting up (since the 10,000m). This is just the prelims and it's always going to feel harder as you've got to get up in the morning. I'm not a morning person and I had to get up this morning at six o'clock. You've got to get it out of the way and get to the final.
"Galen and I looked across (on the home straight) and with top five qualify which we were going to do. So I said save as much energy as you can.
"I wanted to run comfortable and not sprint all out and tire myself out for the Friday."
Katarina Johnson-Thompson, Great Britain's heptathlon hope in the absence of the injured Jessica Ennis-Hill, enjoyed a superb start to the second morning of competition with a personal best in the long jump.
The 20-year-old, who is the world junior long jump champion, leapt 6.56m to move up to fifth after five events with 4766 points, just 29 points off the medals.
The next event, the javelin, is one of the Liverpool athlete's weakest, though.
Robbie Grabarz, the Olympic bronze medallist, enjoyed a flawless high jump qualification, with his 2.29m clearance booking his place in the final on Thursday.
The 25-year-old has struggled in a tough follow-up season following his breakthrough last year.
He said: " It was really nice to come out today and qualify strongly.
"It's been a c*** season really, but I've had to be patient and we'll see what happens on Thursday."