Tuesday, September 12, 2017

The great predictor aka the 5k prep workout.

 If you were paying attention you would have seen that I predicted a 22:59 for the 5k this past Saturday. My actual time was 22:59. Now that was closer than I could have ever expected but it's pretty normal for me to be able to predict my race times based on my current condition. The are several race pace calculators out there and they are quite useful but are dependent on you having run another recent race close to the same distance as the one you are about to run. And they can't take into account the training you have done in between and whether you have been injured or had a layoff for a long period of time for whatever reason.

 A few years ago I came up with a workout I do before racing a 5k that serves as a good last bit of speedwork to sharpen just before a race and has also proven to be a very good prediction tool. 

 So, if you want to try it get to a track although it can be done on a flat greenway, just not as precise. The workout should ideally be done 4 days out from the event but anytime within 3 to 5 days will do.

 I began with a warmup mile and then take a 2 minute rest.
 Then I run mile at what I have reasonably determined to be my goal pace. If at anytime during this mile it becomes difficult then the goal is too lofty. So back off until you feel like you could hold that pace for a lot longer. ( my mile was 7:26). Then rest 2 minutes.

 Next run 1/2 mile at a pace that is about 15 seconds per mile faster than the mile.. This will simulate the middle of the race. It should feel hard but still something in the tank. If you can't hold the pace or struggle then again, you have over estimated your current condition. ( I ran 3:35 or 7:10 pace. Dead on what I needed.) Then rest 2 minutes.

 Now run 1/4 mile at about 15 to 20 seconds per mile pace than the half. This simulates the last mile. It will hurt but you shouldn't get to the end with your hands on your knees just yet. Rest 1 minute and then do another 1/4 mile at about the same pace but kick it in the last 100 meters. Now you can gasp.( I needed to run about 1:42 to 1:43. Ran 1:41 and 1:40)

That's it.   If you nailed the workout then the 1st mile should be your goal give or take a couple of seconds per mile. If you struggled a bit toward the end back off the goal a little and maybe you will have a good day. If you are strong at the end as I was then expect to be a little faster. on race day.

 My workout suggested about a 23:15. Since I felt good and the conditions were favorable I had a strong feeling I could crack 23. And my first mile on race day? 7:27 Average for race 7:23.

 I've done this before all but one 5k since 2014 and it has always been within a few seconds. Of course you also have to take into account the course and weather conditions. If it's hilly that will add seconds per mile and if some unusual weather crops up in a few days that too can make you change the goal. This is where lots of experience and knowing your body come in.

 This was put to the test last Feb. before the Run for the Roses. My predictor showed a 6:59 pace but I knew it was a very tough hilly course so I was expecting about a 22:30 or about a 7:15pace. Then on race day we had freaky weather. The normal temps I had running in were in the 30's and 40's but on race day it was 80F at the start. It's a short race but I still knew to expect it to make it harder to breath and so I predicted just before we started a 22:45. Actual was 22:43.

Saturday, September 09, 2017

TitanUp 5k 9-9-17

 A short report for a short race. Most of the whys and wheres in the preview in the previous post.

 It was a beautiful cool morning when I arrived for the run. Saw running friends Lone and Charles Matthews while I was picking up my packet. I had no time to waste so I went for a one mile warm up as usual over the first mile of the course. ( the way it was laid out the 1 and 2 mile points were just two blocks from the Start/finish ). It was closer to start time than I had thought so I skipped my usual pre race strides and went to line up. It was a small race with less than 100 starters so no crowding to worry with.

 Sized up the competition and only spotted one that may be a threat to my age group aspirations. I got off to a good start and felt good settling into a comfortable but steady pace. The course is mostly flat but we had a downhill and then a climb back up from about 1/4 to the half mile point. Not a difficult climb at all. maybe 15 ft of gain.  A couple of turns and then up and down the same hills but 2 blocks over. I counted between 18 and 20 in front of me as we made the turns.

 Still feeling good and steady as we approached the 1 mile mark just before entering Herman Park. Hit that split in 7:27, about dead on what I had planned , just a couple of seconds slower than my predicted pace for the race. I could still see the leaders up ahead so no one was running away with it. I noticed about halfway that I seemed to have backed off the effort a little bit so I kicked it back up a notch as I passed a couple of teenagers that found out they had gone out too fast.

 Came up to the 2 mile mark and was happy to see the boost had worked passing it in 7:19. I was also happy that my garmin was dead on all of the races mile markers. One mile to go so I was confident in hitting my goal. I set my sights on trying to reel in a few more runners but most everyone by now was holding steady pace. Back down and up the first hill just before turning to the 1/2 mile to go mark. A quick glance showed exactly what I needed to run that last half in to break 23. I'd lost a couple of seconds but I knew I still had a shot at it.

 Made the right turn and it was a straight shot to the finish. Downhill and then a climb back up 20 ft to the qtr to go. Flat as a pancake there so I just let it rip. Crossed the line in 22:59, exactly as I had predicted in my preview, Very happy with the progress I have made since the injury that kept me out for 3 months earlier in the year and excited for the upcoming Fall schedule. It's just going to get better and better. Fired off a message to my #1 fan and friend and then went to check the results. Easily 1st Age Group. I didn't find out  until later that there was only one in the age group ! Oh well, I beat all that showed up and all those on the couch too.

Thanks to my family that showed up to cheer me on and take these pictures !

Friday, September 08, 2017

Going back home to race.

 We interrupt the regularly scheduled focus on the Grand Prix for this important announcement.

 With the long break in between events I was looking for something fun, short and fast to test my speed. Although there are dozens of 5k's within an hour in the month of September I was having a hard time finding one that fit my criteria or piqued my interest until I found this one.

 The TitanUp 5k in Goldsboro is just a small low key event but it's a flat fast course (just 39 ft of climb) but the main draw was it starts in Herman Park  where I spent so much time playing in as a child and is just a few blocks from the home I lived in until I was 8 years old.  All of the Anderson side of my family lived within a few blocks radius of here too and I won my first 5k here in 1987 on a course nearby.

 So, Saturday at 8am I'll take what will hopefully be a fairly fast trip down Memory Lane. The training is going well, I'm feeling pretty good and I'm ready to roll. There has been no taper for this other than I am going to take a rest day today.

 Well, I did my go to 5k race prep workout Wednesday and according to that I should be around 22:59. More on that workout and prediction later. The weather is looking great for early September with the temperature in the upper 50's to low 60's so maybe I can exceed that prediction.

 Stay tuned race fans.

Sunday, September 03, 2017

time to really get serious. training update 9/3/07

 The past week has been mainly recovery and as they tend to go, some days I feel tired and others a spark is there. Over all not  big week, Got in 25 miles,  4 Bikram hot yoga classes and 7 days of yin yoga ! Plus one core workout.

 Coming up , as I have posted before, my main focus are on the races in the RJ Grand Prix Series and the next one up will be a half marathon in 6 weeks. And its just 14 weeks out from the only marathon in the series. It's an improtant one and earns double points so I want to do well and get a Boston Qualifier at the same time. So, that means I have got to get busy getting in some long runs. That should began to get a little easier once the humidity goes away with cooler weather. Although it was only 68F when I ran this morning the humidity was still around 82% making breathing still a problem and when I quit at mile 8 I was drenched. But it will get better !

 So stay tuned to see how it goes.