My training plan calls for time based repetitions run at “5k effort,” and it turns out that I am really struggling to figure out exactly what pace that might be. I know that I have mentioned the article “Solving the 5K Puzzle” about a million times, but since it is the basis for my training plan, expect to keep hearing about it for the next 8 weeks.
The author indicates that these effort based repetitions should be run at paces based on my current fitness, not the fitness I hope to have at the end of the training period. My most recent 5k was completed in 22:15, or about a 7:10 pace. That was raced the day after a 10 mile training run, so it is possible that I am a little bit faster now.
|22:15 was fast enough for an age group award!|
For my first set of 5k efforts (5KEs) I tried to run a bit faster than usual, but not crazy fast. I calculated that I was running at a 6:56 pace. I was supposed to run 5 reps, but I felt like it was too easy and ended up doing a couple extra. I decided to try to run a bit faster the following week. During week two I ended up running around a 6:22 pace. This was WAY too fast and I definitely paid for it for the rest of the week.
The truth is I really don’t know how to pace myself at paces below 7:00. Part of this makes me want to panic. The best way to get a 5k PR will be to run even splits or slightly negative splits. If I can’t figure out how to pace myself during the 1-2 miles, I am going to run out of speed before the finish line. Fortunately Hanna shared some very timely wisdom on her blog this week:
“it’s okay – my body is still learning.”
This is completely new running territory for me right now and it is okay if I can’t perfectly execute every run on my training plan. When I trained for my first couple half marathons, I ran every long run as fast as I could. Now I know better. And by the time I have gone through this training plan a few times, I will be able to control my speed instead of trying to run each rep as fast as possible.
For week 3 I decided to give myself a little bit of help finding the right pace. I knew that I wanted to run a bit faster than 6:56 and slower than 6:22. I decided that aiming for 6:45 would be a good middle ground. Since I would be running for 2 minutes, I knew I needed to cover about .3 miles. I found a nice stretch of paved trail that was the right distance and set out to cover it 5 times with 3 minutes of recovery between reps.
My reps were 2:05, 2:07, 2:00, 2:00, 2:02
Average pace: 6:49. A tiny, tiny bit slower than intended, but the first three had a pretty strong headwind, so I’m really not bothered. I finished feeling like I could have gutted out one more rep, but I was glad that I didn’t have to. Hopefully this means I was close to the right pace. I’m going to use this strategy for running the rest of my 5KEs and, hopefully, come race day I will know what I am doing.
If anyone has any better ideas for running this type of workout, please let me know! As I’ve mentioned, this is the first time I am following a 5k specific plan and could use any advice that is out there!