On the hunt for 5K Speed 8/28/13

Today I got out for a quick 5k run. After spending all spring/summer going long (for me) in preparation for the Half Marathon distance, I now have a sprint triathlon on the calendar as an “A” race. 250yard swim, 16mi bike, and 5K run in the Monster Triathlon on 10/20/13. This is a great race that I have done before. I want to really challenge myself to get on the podium this time around. Always difficult, but now in a more competitive age group (30-34), it’s going to really depend on who shows up to race. One thing is for sure, however, and that is the fact that the run is my limiter. The swim in this race is short enough that it is almost inconsequential – the time difference between myself and the fastest of swimmers will be only a minute. The bike is my strength, and with my new bike I feel pretty confident that I can post one of the fastest bike splits of the day. That leaves the run, which is where my work lies between now and the race. It’s not the distance that is the problem, it’s pushing myself for speed.

Today I set out without much of a plan. This is a major downfall of mine, which I need to solve quickly. I need a solid plan for improving my 5k run time. Expect another post specifically on this in the near future with the details of the plan. I have trotted away hundreds of miles just going along at a comfortable pace. Runners affectionately call this LSD, or long-slow-distance (sorry to disappoint!) I expect that my speed work plan will include some track workouts with hard intervals.

After I got going today and was feeling good, I just set a goal to negative split my run overall. A negative split is simply running faster on the second half than the first half. This seemed reasonable but challenging when putting up a 9:15 first mile. Then the second mile came in at 9:02. At this point I was definitely feeling the work I had put in, but also had the nagging voice in the back of my head saying to “HTFU Buttercup, it’s only 5k”. Obviously I haven’t been running enough. In a snap I made a slight adjustment to my goals and set out to make each mile faster than the last. Since I only had one mile to go, that meant doing it in under 9 minutes. No problem. 8:24 for the third mile and then a quick 0.1 mile wrap up to do the full 5k at an 8:16 pace and I called it a day. 27:30 total, which is anything but blazing fast even for me. I felt like a I put in good work, however, and more importantly my body did not complain. After being in to see Dr. Maloy twice in preparation for the Hotter’n Hell with IT Band issues, Calf Issues, and Hamstring Issues I was good with it! Bike fit is dialed in and I’m feeling ready to get on a strict training plan and see some gains over the next 2 months.

Monster Triathlon here I come.

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