Prep week for a sub-25 5K

Like a Boss.

In preparing for this weekend’s 5K, I can’t help but think back to my first 5K, my very first race. It was in November (’08), in San Diego, so it was warm and sunny. My ex-boyfriend (we broke up a few weeks before the race) signed up with me to encourage me to finish the race.

I didn’t know anything about running. I went to the Road Runner Sports in San Diego because a friend completed a training program with them and it came highly recommended. I don’t remember a lot, but if you’ve been to that store, you can understand- its huge and overwhelming. I do remember the sales associate asked how many miles per week I ran, and I laughed out loud. ‘Ummmm 5? Maybe. If its a good week

So there I am, at my first race. I didn’t have any race day rituals. Basically just parked and walked over to start. I even wore all cotton (gasp!)

I just wanted to finish in a better than 10-minute pace. I stopped to walk at the turn around. I finished in 30:30, and was so upset because I was slower than a 10-minute pace (it was actually slightly faster than a 10:00). That actually makes me laugh, your time on your first race doesn’t matter. I didn’t realize there was an extra 0.1 mile (I probably walked it, thinking I had passed the finish line when I saw the 3-mile marker). But at the time, I thought 30+ minutes was horrible (maybe the ex being an easy sub-18-minute 5Ker had something to do with it…).

So how do you train for a sub-25 5K?

The way I’ve been “training” (let’s admit I’m using that term loosely) is as follows-

I run about 20-35 miles/week (across 3-5 runs). One long/slow run (usually Sat AM), 1-2 fast pace (track workout/ tempo/ hilly/ intervals/ whatever; “fast” pace is a 8:30 or better for me), 1-2 super easy shorter run.

Rather than training for a certain distance, I have been keeping a steady base, and I noticed I was getting stronger again, and faster. Holding a 8:15 seems hard, but do-able (a year ago, that would have been an all-out mile for me). But something made me think- I need a legitimate 5-K speed (and 10-K for that matter… maybe in May). And I thought about it- and I feel holding 8’s would be hard, but do-able. And in all honesty, I could probably run faster than a 25-minute pace… but I’ll get back to you about that on Monday (after my 5K).

So my game plan for Sunday is to: Warm-up by jogging to the start line from Dan’s (about a mile). By the way, this will be my first time ever warming up before a race. I generally just scrap the first mile or so of the race as a warm-up. Other new things-

I plan to line up near the front.

Say what?!

I know. I know. Crazy! But I don’t want to spend the first mile elbowing past the first-timers (me, circa 2008). I glanced at the finishing times for last year, and 24:45 was the #25 female, of about 600 racers, #120 overall. So, don’t get me wrong… I don’t plan to be front row, ready to trip Paul (Dan’s friend who freaking wins 5K’s all the time- with 15-16 minute times), but I do plan to be near the front, so it is easier for me. Dan is planning to run even faster. He might be second-row.

And it looks like weather is going to be gross- 40 degrees and raining. Wish me luck! I will definitely need it! Sunday at 2pm.

now, shameless NCAA tournament plug- Go NC State!… And San Diego State! (my grad school-alma mater)

[Yes, I will be carb-loading with cupcakes today and tomorrow… What? Who says it has to be a long race to stuff your face 😉 ]

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