Wednesday, March 16, 2016

Slowing Down, Speeding Up, and the Next Race

A few weeks before we headed on vacation, I went out for a Sunday morning (free, wahoo!) 5k. A girlfriend was supposed to join me, but something came up and that morning and knowing that she couldn't be there, I had to force myself out of bed. I grumbled all the way to the race and made it just in time to start (grumbling is a great warm up- apparently).I finished and ended up getting 2nd place for my age division. And I was shocked. I've only placed in a race 2 times before in my life... and one of those times was in middle school. Beyond actually ranking well, I realized that I raced really poorly. I had no goal in mind, I didn't push myself, and by the end I wasn't even out of breath.

Pairing 2nd place victory with too much confidence made for a dangerous combination. A new running plan was hatched- operation get faster.

Okay, so no this 'new plan' is definitely not a new, novel idea. But actually trying to get faster is a new idea for me.  For years now I  consistently log decently long miles usually just plodding along without a ton of attention to speed (more concerned about RPE- rate of perceived exertion). So for the 3 weeks leading up to our Thailand trip, I decided that my goal would be to get faster. I ran a lot of intervals, I did a lot (for me) of lower body strength training, and I spent a lot more 'quick' time on my feet (although it is a lot less miles). So to speed up, I was actually slowing down my mileage count.

Here is the good, bad, and the ugly.

The good: I've actually gotten faster. And (for me) significantly faster.
Starting 5k pace: 8:17 minute miles
End of 1st week 5k pace: 8:00 minute miles
End of 2nd week 5k pace: 7:44 minute miles
End of 3rd week 5k Pace: 7:36 minute miles

That is a 41 second per mile difference in 3 weeks!

The bad: I was sore. I was grouchy. And I definitely missed my longer runs.

The ugly: I kinda hated it. I view my running time as my time. I think through things, I exert copious amounts of energy on reality tv recaps and mental meal planning, and I spend the time doing something for me that makes me feel good. Taking a step back, running is really a selfish hobby for me, but I love it.

So where does that leave us now? Well, I'm not throwing all the speed work out the window (because it obviously works), but I'm going back to what I enjoy. Andrew and I are squeezing in one more half marathon before the summer heats up too much. And guys, it is a wine themed half marathon. 



The good: It is on a vineyard, gives out 'free' wine, and is the perfect motivation I need to get out of the vacation mindset. 

The bad: It is in 5 weeks... whoops! So I gotta kick up my mileage majorly already.

The ugly: I'm dealing with a new mystery pain/soreness that over the past couple runs has gotten significantly worse. So I will need to be extra careful, spend lots of time foam rolling, and start drinking wine in anticipation of the race. Sometimes that last one can get ugly too :)

Any race plans in your future?
-S



4 comments:

  1. That is fast! Great job! Good luck on the 1/2! I would love to do another one one day!

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  2. A wine half marathon??? Um... I think I need to sign up for one of those sometime soon! But I was in the same boat as you - placed in my age group and then immediately tried to up the speed work because it's such a confidence booster. We'll see if it pays off over the next three weeks of races!

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  3. Dude that's amazing! Wine?! I actually saw a beer 5k and a wine 5k which is definitely more my speed.

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  4. blech, mystery pain is the worst because you're wondering WHY???? i've suddenly started getting this weird pain behind my left knee for no reason. i didn't twist it, didn't injure it, didn't do anything. just .... pain. i attribute that to turning 40! :(

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