Still running, and meeting goals
Part 1: getting to 5k
Back in February I wrote a piece about running. At that point I had just transitioned from running increasingly long intervals broken up by walking recovery to running nonstop for 25 minutes. I had just completed a 2.2 mile 25 minute run1, and I was looking forward to completing a 5k run within a few weeks.
In reality I decided to push myself, and ran my first 5k 4 days later. I thought it would take between 35 and 40 minutes.
But I finished my first ever 5k in just under 35 minutes, at an average pace of about 11 minutes and 15 seconds a mile. It was a huge milestone for me. I had pushed hard and almost didn’t make it, but there I was.
My nothing to 5k program had worked, and it took less than 3 months.
Part 2: getting sick
After that first 5k I kept running. I started trying interval training, with a long run to get warmed up and a little tired followed by fast intervals at about 9 minutes/mile. It seemed to help, and by March I was running 2 miles at a time in under an 11 minute pace.
But partway into March I caught my worst cold in years. I ran on March 5, and then didn’t run or do much else again until the 26th. On March 5 I was running more than 2 miles in less than 11 minutes a mile. On my first run back 3 weeks later I didn’t even make it a mile and a half before I had to stop. I had lost almost 30 seconds a mile too.
It was hard. I felt like I had lost a lot, and running was more difficult than it had ever seemed before.
But I kept at it.
Part 3: a second 5k, and a breakthrough
By mid April I was running strong again. I was homing in on a 10 minute mile, but not quite there. I got back to running faster than 11 minutes a mile and on April 20th I went for my second 5k.
I upped my pace quite a bit. My first 5k took almost 35 minutes, but this time it took just over 33 minutes. My pace dropped from 11:15/mile to 10:40/mile. And I felt good.
Three days later I ran 2 miles at a 10:30 pace. It hurt and I felt sick, but those were the fastest 2 miles yet. I was pretty happy.
I didn’t realize it then, but I’m pretty sure this was the breakthrough. Two days later I ran the same 2 miles at a 9:45 pace. It was such a huge improvement that I thought the GPS in my phone must have been wandering and overestimating my distance. But I took a route I knew was about 2 miles, and it looked good on the map.
Since that run I’ve only had one slower than 10 minutes a mile, and several around 9:45 a mile.
Part 4: my third 5k, and a major goal met
This morning I left on another 5k. This one with a very important goal in mind. In my February post I said that my goal was to do a 5k at a 10 minute pace. Based on the last week of runs I knew I was ready to take a shot at it.
This morning I set iSmoothRun‘s coach to a 5k distance at a 10 minute/mile pace and tried to hit that goal. I started out well, gaining nearly 30 seconds on the goal time within the first mile. But my route is mostly uphill on the way out, and at the midway point I was closer to 15 seconds ahead.
I turned around and headed back towards home, trying to keep my pace up. The coach kept giving me valuable feedback (“Faster!” she would call out) and I made it to 2.5 miles with about 20 seconds on the overall goal.
I was feeling pretty beat though, and I was slowing down. But I kept going.
And a block from my apartment the coach said I was done. Just over 5k in 31 minutes. 9 minutes and 57 seconds per mile.
I know my phone’s built in GPS is not an official meter, but it’s good enough for me. I said I wanted to be able to run a 5k at a 10 minute pace, and I did. And I bet I can improve on that even more.
I don’t know what new goals I will set now, but I think it’s time to enter some official events and get some official times.
All of these links include a 5 minute warm-up walk and additional cool down time at the end. I use iSmoothRun during these runs, and it reports the statistics of the running interval separately from the overall track log. All run and pace times are based on this. ↩
Posted on 04 May 2013