This morning I set a new 5k PR in the ABB Houston 5k!
I haven’t run a race since early last summer but I resolved this year that I would integrate more races into my ongoing workout routine. Instead of training for 5k and 10k races and then running just a couple of them, each time tapering and preparing the week beforehand, this year I’m going to use races AS my 5k and 10k workouts.
This morning was the first of the five or six 5ks I intend to run this year. I’m lighter and I believe my fitness level has improved since my 5k PR around this time last year. However, since I hadn’t prepared or tapered for this race, I set pretty conservative goals.
In my 2 5K races last year I set pace goals ~4:12/km and exceeded them early in the race but faded in the stretch. It was important to me in this race to run a consistent pace so I set 4:16 as my goal. With a fast start (1:55 first 500m), 4 km @ 4:16/km, and a fast finish (1:37 for 400m followed by a 17s final 100m sprint), this would make for a 20:54 race – well off my 20:31 PR but, again, the goal was consistency. At a temperature of 70+F and humidity around 100%, the weather certainly wouldn’t help!
The first 500m breezed by in 1:47. I was 5 seconds ahead of my goal and feeling fine at a heart rate of 169 BPM. I was feeling so fine, in fact, that I really had to rein it in for the next km, which I still finished in 4:08, putting me 13 seconds ahead of my goal and with a heart rate of 174 BPM. The next three km really settled into pace: 4:12 (178 BPM), 4:14 (180 BPM), and 4:11 (182 BPM). Heading into my “endgame” I was 24 seconds ahead of my goal, which was on target (barely) for a PR.
I picked it up for the next 400m, which took us around a couple of turns. I finished this segment in 1:31 (187 BPM) so was now 30 seconds ahead of my goal. There were several people who had passed me earlier in the race in sight as I rounded the final turn and I could feel someone behind me pressing as I kicked it into gear. One by one I passed all the people between me and the finish line – but the guy behind me overtook me and pulled a few feet ahead. In the final 20m or so I managed to find another gear (189 BPM) and re-overtake him, barely beating him out at the finish. I wonder how much more slowly I would have gone if I hadn’t had to fend off his challenge . . . as my football coach used to say, “Competition breeds excellence!”
My final result was 20:21, a new PR by 10 seconds! I finished #44 overall out of 3,183 runners (99th percentile), #41 out of 1,357 male runners (97th percentile), and #9 out of 180 men in the 30-34 age class (95th percentile). I’m very pleased with the results and now I’ll try to improve by gradually lowering my goal pace each time. 4:14 was my slowest km in this race so my goal for the next race will be for all kms to come in at 4:13 or faster.