Wednesday, July 31, 2013

5K Run through = Success!

Distance: 3.1 miles
Duration: 41:37
Pace: 13:23

Yesterday I did a full 5K run through to prepare for the Biggest Loser race on Sunday, and I can't believe how I did. I've never finished a 5K (practice or real) in under 42 minutes!

To help me with my pacing, I used the Interval Run app. The last time I used it during a 5K was at the Run to Remember in May, but that didn't go quite as I had planned, and I now fully understand why.

With this app, you can set your custom run/walk intervals and have a voice-over prompt you to switch between the two during the workout. For some reason, at the Run to Remember I thought it would be a good idea to set my intervals to run 4 minutes, walk 1 minute, and then repeat until the end of the race. However, I hadn't actually trained for running at that pace. I did okay during the first interval, but then after the first minute of walking, I just didn't have it in me to maintain a steady pace for the next four minutes. Or the following four minutes, and so on. I finished that race with a time of 46:09, which wasn't too bad for my first run of the season after a long break, but it wasn't my best time, either.

Yesterday was different. Instead of going for longer run times that I know I'm not yet able to maintain for the duration of the race, I decided to set my interval times to run 1 minute and 30 seconds, and then walk 1 minute. Having these times made a HUGE difference in the quality of my running. I felt more relaxed, knowing that I was running for durations that matched those I've done with my 10K training app. Also, since the running periods were shorter, I was able to put more energy and effort into them, which increased my overall speed.

The run did have its tough moments, though. Around the 1.8 mile mark, that's when I started to feel myself hitting "the wall," thinking that I couldn't go any further. I was so close to calling it quits, telling myself that I could just do the full run sometime later this week, but by then, I reached 2 miles. Once I was there, I knew I could push through and finish. It was hard to keep going, even though I've done this so many times before.

Additionally, around mile 2.5, both of my feet started to cramp up and feel like heavy weights that were pulling me down. Maybe I had my laces tied too tightly again, but after I saw my average pace on RunKeeper, my motivation for finishing was being able to see what I knew would be a faster time. I'm glad I did it, because I literally screamed out in joy once I saw 41:37!

This was the first time that I'd actually done a full run through before a 5K race. I think that in the past, I've been too afraid to see how slow I would finish, but actually, yesterday was quite the opposite. Now that I see what I'm capable of doing, I can't wait to get to the starting point, run at the intervals that I know will bring me success, and finish the race in under 42 minutes.

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