For the last couple months I’ve been working on speed. I’ve learned that in order to run fast for the marathon, you first have to be able to run fast in the shorter distances. Dedicating a couple of months to 5k’s is great to build this. My speed is horrible… let me explain.. my 200 speed is the exact same as my 5k speed! Pretty bad… of course I’m not gonna change this too much in just a few months. It’s gonna take a while and I have to be patient. Having no patience will only lead to injury which will push my goal out even farther.
The beginning of the year I was hoping to officially break 23 minutes in the 5k. Last years PR officially was 23:30. I used the pfitzinger training plans and got my time down to 22:13. I was hoping to break 22 this last 5k, but had to adjust my goal due to the weather. It was 92% humidity!
The last month I feel like I was finally gaining speed. I asked my uncle for help and he gave me a couple super hard speed workouts. Pyramid workouts; 100-200-300-400-300-200-100, as many sets you can handle with 200 slow jogs in between. Then 200-300-400-500-400-300-200 the next week, also as many as you can handle. Then finally the next week 400-500-600-800-600-500-400 with 200s after all but 400 jog after the 800. Also as many as you can handle. I did 2 sets for all these and they had me tired for days after.
I’m not a fan of speed work in any way, so am excited to start base building and get ready for marathon training in the fall. I’m starting around 40 mpw working up to 60 or higher by September. During this base building block I’m focusing more on strength work, since I’ve been lacking much on that part.
Breaking 4 hours in the marathon at the end of January got me even more excited and determined that I can and will qualify for the Boston marathon. During my week off I purchased “Faster Road Running” by Pete Pfitzinger. Since the plans in his “Advanced Marathoning” book worked so well, I decided to stick with what works. Having a couple 5k’s on the calendar I figured I’d start there. I was on the training week where there was supposed to be a practice 5k and ran one in Frisco, Texas with my best friends Stephanie and Angel.
To my surprise I ran a 22:05 for this 5k!!! tying my PR from 2008!!! I couldn’t believe it! And still am questioning, since the course was short according to my watch. But I will take it! Since the beginning of this training block I’ve been averaging about 45-50 miles per week and doing 1 workout per week with intervals and 1 with 100 meter strides. The rest of the mileage I take it pretty easy, except for a general aerobic run, where I run a little bit slower than tempo pace, but not too fast to get tired. For me, that is about a 8:45-9 min mile pace.
This past weekend I decided to sign up for a 10 mile race close to home, in Mooresville, Alabama. It was the prettiest little town! The post office there is the oldest post office still in use in Alabama, dating back to the 1800’s. I went into this race thinking that since I almost beat my 2008 5K PR the week before, maybe I could break my 2008 10 mile PR? I didn’t put too much thought into it, since I didn’t tell anyone about the race, and honestly didn’t think I could do it.
I warmed up for a mile and got to the wave start. My starting group had all (fast looking) men and one other woman. I immediately stayed back with the other woman, but noticed our pace was 8:30.. this would not get me to break my 1:20:30 record. I picked it up to an 8 min mile pace and stuck with the group of men. This made me nervous, cause there’s no way I could keep up with these guys right? The pace felt easy, but that has tricked me before. I decided if I’d still feel this good at mile 5, I would push the pace to a 7:55 from there to finish. From mile 2 to 3, my watch pinged a mile about 2 minutes before the 3 mile marker. I immediately knew with this 2 min error, I had no change for a PR. I should just relax and enjoy this pretty route. But then I thought.. well, I feel great, so lets pick up the pace instead, maybe I can still do it. I picked up the pace to run in the 7:40s. By mile 4 the course had corrected. (my guess the wind blew over the mile marker and someone just put it back where it ended up) I was feeling great still, so kept my pace. By mile 8 I felt like I was flying, my legs were moving fast and I still didn’t feel like I couldn’t breathe. The last mile I picked it up to 7:20 pace. That got me! but who cares, I was almost there. I flew (what I felt like) through the finish line with a new shiny PR of 1:17:30!!!
None of my miles even hit 8 minutes! I cannot explain how good it feels to see my hard work over the past year pay off. It has taken 1 year and 3 months of consistency and discipline to see progress I want to see. I’m so excited to see how much faster I can get.