Sunday, October 28, 2012

How to Run a 5K

So I ran a 5K last weekend and it was tons of fun but I didn't do as well as I hoped.  I finished just under 24 minutes, which is still fine and all, but I was hoping to be in the low-23s at least.  I just never was really able to get in the groove and I definitely felt my coffee talking back to me.  I had to hold it down a bit in the middle because I kept massively burping coffee.


Anyway, yesterday and Tuesday I killed both of my runs.  Easily coasted along in the mid to low-8s.  Seriously.  Why?  Whywhywhy?  I felt great, but was also slightly annoyed.

Why am I so much better at pretty much every distance but 5K?

So I asked one of my super fast Cross Country AP kids.  What's your secret?  There must be a secret.

He said what I already pretty much know.

"It's mostly just mental."


So why is it that I can push myself longer but not really faster?  Why when I'm pushing FAST do I so easily poop out and make excuses?

My favorite excuse which usually hits me around mile 1.2 or so is "I'm just no good at these short races."

This sounds pretty elementary, but with that piss-poor attitude, of course I'm going to slow down.  Why would I get faster if I keep telling myself I'm no good?

So the XC fast kid also told me that I should think of the race starting--STARTING--at mile 3.  "The first two miles should be automatic, and then when you hit mile 3, you should really start to race."


Usually I run mile 1 at a speed that I can't handle, start to give in to the pain and puking reflex around 1.5, and get progressively slower each mile after that.

So, I'm going to run two more 5Ks here in the end of the year.  Now, I know what you're thinking: triathlete logic should say that it isn't possible to get faster during the off-season and see decent times, right?

The weird thing is that I shattered a 9-year old 5K PR last December.  DECEMBER!  Who has two thumbs and PR's a 5K in December?

This girl.

(I am so weird.)

So I know that it IS in me.  Somewhere in there a little dose of speed exists and perhaps it didn't go ALL to my brother who can run a 17 minute 5K (and, by the way, says he's "slow").

My time was okay.  It would have actually got me 1st in the 30-34 age group (small race!) but I didn't even place top 3 in 35-39.  Reminding me yet again that as you get older, you'd better get faster because IT'S ON.

So I think I'll work a bit on the head game here this winter and see if I can coax a little speed out of this endurance body.



The Salty One said...

You are so not alone! So many runners have a hard time with the 5k. I think it's the intensity that gets them. To do it right you have to feel out of control for most of the race and be teetering on the edge basically the whole time. For endurance athletes this level of intensity is really hard to get right and it takes lots of practice. I bet if you ran one every other week for 2 months you'd end up with a HUGE pr! Anyway, cheers to another December PR! wish I could be there to witness this one :)

Run for Chocolate said...

Well it is also your VO2 max too right? and your brain :)