As bad as Wednesday was, Thursday was a great evening for a run. Beautiful sunny skies. Still a little on the cool side, but at least the wind didn't threaten to blow the door off my car. I did an easy six miles around the Upper Back Bay. Managed to finish up in just over an hour (1:03, average pace of 10:18) at an average heart rate of 75% of max. I ran most of it not paying attention to my Garmin, but just concentrating on feel. The cool thing about this run is it was pretty easy. I was actually expecting my time to be much closer to 1:10. I knew my heart rate would be low because other than a couple of strides thrown in for good measure, I really wasn't even breathing hard unless I was also going uphill. Nice run if I say so myself.
So, that wraps the week before my 5K on Saturday. I blew the dust off The Competitive Runner's Handbook (by Glover) this morning to look at 5K strategy. A 5K is an interesting race. It's too short to worry about fueling. But it's too long to just all out sprint. It's also a distance that I don;t have a lot of experience at. Here are some tips I've gleaned from Glover:
1. Hydrate pre race. Since it takes 20 minutes to fully absorb liquids, any drinking done during the race won't really help. But not being hydrated before the race will hurt.
2. Make sure you are properly fueled pre race. Anything eaten during the race will have zero effect on your performance. If you have trained properly, there will be enough glycogen in your legs to keep them going for 5 kilometers.
3. Break the race down into 4 pieces - 3 one mile pieces and the final push. Mile one - go out just a tad faster than goal pace. Miles 2 and 3 - push a little harder each mile to offset fatigue. Find a pack running your pace and tuck in with them. Let them pull you along. With about 400 yards left start picking out runners ahead of you to pick off one at a time. With 200 yards to go, turn it on!
I was also interested in a chart in the book that provides a little insight to performance. Based on my training paces, I am sitting right at the sub 8:00 minute mile pace. Now, I ran my last 5K back in October at an 8:28 pace. I'm not sure I've picked up a full 30 seconds per mile. Especially since I think there are a couple hills involved here (my son used to run Cross Country in High School and this was one of the courses for a rival school). Maybe of all the stars align.
Well - what I'm going to do is target an 8:15 mile. That will put me just over 25:30. That would be decent. One thing for sure - if I'm going to hit that pace I better be resting today! Yup! Waiter! One of those umbrella drinks please!