I know there are some runners out there that are totally fine with just running for the fun of it – no plans, no races: just running. I am a bit of a planner, and therefore plan my seasons well in advance. Even if I haven’t signed up, I have certain races (like STWM) on my calendar. I knew back in January that my spring season would not have a half marathon race in it. Because I had already made a commitment to lead a water station during Ottawa Race Weekend’s Sunday events (half and full marathons), I knew I would not be running a half in TORW, but I could have chosen another race. I am certainly glad that I did not jump ahead and just pick up a random half marathon because my schedule does not really plan for running 2-3 hours on any given day. Between multiple track practices (sometimes many in one day) and P being away for robotic tournaments, long runs of any great distance are not happening. Nor will they be – as my schedule is really intense from April-June.
Last year’s Ottawa Race Weekend did not go so well in terms of training. It was rushed and I didn’t like it. I will continue to stick with my plan of having a half or full marathon in the Fall unless a unique race opportunity is available, like the NYC Half or maybe one day, Boston. But timing aside, there are a few things that brings me back to the 5 and 10K races:
Although I would like to run a bit more each week, I have really been enjoying 5 and 10K training. I like the track work, I enjoy going to GoodLife and working out there 2-3x a week, and I really enjoy the race strategy. Because I have issues getting through a half or full marathon plan, I never really put myself 100% into training. Which is why some plans, like training to BQ, are on the back burner. Since I have focused on 5K training over the past few months, I have noticed that paying particular attention to one race distance is paying off. Or at least I hope so (check back after Around the Bay). Most of my runs have been significantly faster, and I feel comfortable running at those paces. Last year running a 15:00 3K would have been dying at my front doors, red in the face and catching my breath. Now, it is still a hard run, but I literally just walk in the door and call it a day – no dying. Track work is going really well. I know that some runners hate speed work, but I love it. I wish I could do more sets of 800s if I had more time. Part of me is thinking that the summer might mean some track races….
Maybe some of my improvement comes from working out at the gym. Spending a few afternoons at GoodLife, focusing on strength training is definitely paying off. Simply going to the gym to work on my upper body, core and legs means that running faster is becoming easier and I am avoiding injury. I had some discussions in a running twitter chat the other day about strength training and fitting it in. I really think that it needs to be a priority for me from now on. Also, I need to get some cross training time in. I’m also looking forward to getting to a few classes once the robotics mayhem stops.
It is no secret that when I train for a half or full marathon, I train to complete. I do not have time to really put in quality training to get faster, although the half is getting there. The only strategy I have in a half or full is to hopefully negative split, finish and finish strong. 5K racing is a bit different. It is really hard to make up any issues you might encounter in a 5K race. Remember the 2013 Army Run 5K when I encountered construction and runners running in all directions because there was confusion; I ran the slowest first KM I’ve ever run and wasn’t able to make it up. I race a 5K in the following way: Hard -> Coast ->Fast as you can. Generally that means I run a pretty fast first KM (especially if the race is crowded), then relax for KM 2-4 and then run as fast as I can for the last. Usually 800m to go is almost all out. With my strength training and running more frequently, I am hoping that my KM 2-4 improve. I know if I can get closer to 5:00 in KM 2-4, my overall time will drop.
There is still some training to do before ATB 5K – but I am hoping to give it my all and PB in the 5K. I’m 99% sure I will PB the 10K this year too, but by how much is to be determined. I am really looking forward to all the 5K/10K races this season!
This post was written as part of the GoodLife Fitness Blogger Ambassador Program, however all opinions expressed are my own