Week #14 has come to an end, and this is it. No more "5K in 30 minutes" training. It's done. Tomorrow we drive to Bayfield and I will do my best to run my first 5K in under half an hour.
This will be my 14th 5K race. It makes me laugh to think, you haven't run a 5K in under 30 minutes in any of these previous races? But the fact is, I have never cared and so I have never tried.
This is my 5K history:
I ran two 5K races.
At the time, I didn't know anything at all about training or PRs, intervals and hill training, or much about anything else! I was in a Learn-to-Run program, and my first-ever 5K was in July, the "goal" race in my LTR program. Because I enjoyed running the race, I signed up for another 5K in August. This is when I set my current PR of 31:32.
Back then, I didn't pay much attention to 5K races because my head was in the clouds, thinking about running in future half marathons and marathons. I say "head in the clouds" because it truly was "la la" thinking at the time because I essentially quit running after this, even though I absolutely loved it and swore it was my new passion. :( :(
Three 5K races.
I returned to running after a year of non-stop dog walking. This commitment to walking elevated me from my "unhealthiest health level ever" status to LTR status again. This time, I start with a fun 3K run and I am thrilled to be running in 5K races again during the summer. I am paying better attention to my 5K race times as a sign of improvement, but my true goal for the year is just trying to work my way up the mileage ladder so I can run my first-ever 10K. Speed is not a priority nor is it a care; I just want to run 10K. And I did! :)
Seven 5K races.
I am repeating my same pattern from 2009. Sure, these are fun 5K races all over SW Ontario and in London to run, but I am not serious about them. I still don't care about speed. All I want to do is to be able to run more 10K races. I care about my "PR" in these races and I care about mileage once again because I am focused on running a half marathon. All I want is to be able to say that I ran a 10K by the end of 'last' year, but I ran a "full" half marathon by the end of 'this' year. I just wanted to run a half marathon. And I did! :)
Running this half marathon had an impact on me. For the first time, I no longer wanted to 'progress' up the mileage ladder; I wanted to run a half marathon faster before running a 'full' marathon. For the first time, my focus as of last November turned to pace and speed.
But ... I am still 10K-centric - LOL! Speed to me meant being able to run a '10K in under 60 minutes' so I start a specific training program to accomplish this ... and I make it as far as Week #4 before my injured achilles tendon and Snowmageddon have a very wicked smackdown on me. :(
So now it's March and I am feeling really crappy. 10+ weeks of no running and all my spring goals for running are in the toilet ...
So long, goal '10K in under 60 minutes' at the Forest City Road Races in May (note: I did run a 10K PR in this event, just not in under 60). :(
So long goal half marathon at the Toronto Women's Half Marathon in May, too (note: I was planning to walk/run it, similar to my Niagara Falls half, but with improved speed). :(
When I revisit my '10K in 60 minutes' training program from the fall, the mileage is too much - too soon. Quite the bummer, and frankly, it was very depressing. :(
The Program That Helped Me Tremendously
This is when I decided to start a "5K in under 30 minutes" training program. And it was the best thing I could have done. :) :) The last 14 weeks have been just terrific. I have conservatively worked my mileage back up to a level where I can start training for a half marathon (or two) in the fall. My speed has significantly improved. By experiencing a full cycle of training, I have learned all about hill training, intervals, striders, various track workouts, runs in the morning, runs in the afternoon, what works for me, what doesn't work for me ... 14 weeks of learning and 'aha' moments (thanks, Oprah!), and "finally get-it's." I also learned that, personally, my desire to run a full marathon someday is all about the journey in getting there, and not necessarily about the station/arrival itself. There have been numerous bumps in this road already, and no doubt there are going to be quite a few more.