I’m very eager to do a 5K really soon. I want to know where I am in terms of my physical fitness and I found that a 5K is a very good predictor of how well I will do in a half marathon. I have a very aggressive goal of running a half marathon in 1:50 in the spring, which I’m beginning to think it’s a bit too much of a stretch for April. May would be better, but I’ll be missing the Brooklyn Half (so sad because I loved it last year and it was my very first half) to go to California for my baby sister’s graduation (yay!).
Early Sunday morning I poked around the internet to find a training plan that was more suited to my style, I discovered Runner’s World Pace Calculators for all sorts of cool calculations, like pace wristband creator, age-graded calculator, and more importantly training paces calculator. No more guesses what a “hard” run should be. I’m definitely not in 1:50 shape, but I am in 1:55 shape, which is around my PR (1:56:35). I discovered through playing around the training paces calculator that I have not been running fast enough for my speed and tempo runs. I’m not afraid of running fast and dealing with pain, so I do enjoy speed work. I thought I had been pushing myself, but I was pansy footing it. After feeling bad about it for a couple minutes, I decided to make up for it by doing mile repeats at the pace I am supposed to be at.
On Sunday I hopped over to the gym and went on a treadmill. After a half mile warm up at 6 mph (10:00 pace), I did three 1-mile at 8 mph (7:30) with a walking break of .25 miles at 2 mph. The workout was hard; I was breathing hard, but I did it. It wasn’t as difficult as I thought it might have been.
It’s amazing how much fitter I am now than I was a little more than a year ago. I remember hopping on a treadmill determined to do a 8-min mile and not quite getting there. Then one day I did it. I was so relieved when I finished that mile because it took everything out of me. I couldn’t have ran any faster. I couldn’t have ran any longer. I was in pain, gasping for air, and completely done and winded when it was over. I was triumphant, but also convinced that I had reached my peak. I didn’t think it was possible for me to run any faster. And here I am now, knocking on the door of a 7-min mile and I can run a 7:30 three times in one session.
Thanks to the training calculator, I know I need to do my tempo runs 30 seconds faster, so I’ll start incorporating these changes into my training schedule. If you have no idea (or want to verify) the paces that you should be training in, I recommend checking out the Runner’s World Pace Calculators. Definitely a fun and useful site.