Thursday, March 26, 2009

3 Weeks to Race - Time for Tempo Run

I know it's only a few weeks to my next 5k. For some, it's no big deal, but I only run 2 or 3 races a year. So I get an email today from Vanos, a coworker, and he says that he has something going on with another team. I don't know if he's putting money on it, but pride is enough for me.

I put 24:30 on my expected time for the race. He says that I need to dig deep and try to shave off a couple minutes. Doesn't sound too hard. I ran 2 minutes faster than that at last year's corporate run, but my last 5k time was 24:30.

I tell him that I'll know if I can take off 2 minutes in another couple weeks. Time to guage my progress. That's right. Tempo Run Time. For newbies, that means that I am going to run my race pace. Usually, you'd run a bit shorter distance. I want to see exactly where I'm at, so I need to run a 5k.

After dinner, I get on the net and search on for a 5k course in my neighborhood. I find one that is 3.15 miles. Nearly perfect.

I figure it's a little cooler than what I can expect on race day since the sun was already down.

I started off with a mile and half warmup. I have a decent sweat going and head back home to check the time. My watch broke, so I have to check a clock. My cell phone says 9:20 and I head out the door. Conveniently, the 5k course I found goes by my street. I take off and I feel like I'm running a little fast. Maybe around 7 minute pace. I feel a little out of breath after about a quarter mile, so I ease back just a hair. I keep about the same pace through 2 miles... just over 7 minutes.

When I hit about the 2 mile mark, I start getting tightness in my mid-back. I'm obviously getting tired and my core back muscles feeling tight and painful is the signal to work on them. I will have to increase my mileage on long run days from around 5 to about 7 or 8 miles and on easy run days, I will need to include some middle back and lower back training.

I slowed down the final mile plus, but still finished up at 9:44pm. So I did 3.15 in 24 minutes give or take 30 seconds since there is no second hand on my cell phone.

I did some calculations based on an even 24 minute run. My average pace was 7:37. If I ran just .05 less, my time at that pace would have been 23:37. It will be a little hotter at 7pm, but I didn't sprint tonight either. To meet my goal of 22:30, I need to shave off just over 20 seconds per mile in the next 3 weeks.

In addition to longer runs once a week, I need to make speed work mandatory. For the 5k distance, I probably need to do 880's on the track. 440's are better for mile speed and 1 mile repeats may be too much for the 5k.

I need to run 7:15's on race day or better. I probably need to train for 6:15 speed on the track. That makes my 880 repeats around 3:07. I will probably do my speed work on Saturday. I'll need to do 4-6 repeats to do any good. I'll only have 2 Saturdays of speedwork until the race, so I better do all 6 both times. Some people try to run faster as they go, I will try to ladder my times. Start fast, taper, and end fast. Something like 3:00, 3:07, 3:15, 3:15, 3:07, 3:00.

The last time I ran 440 repeats, I was running around these times, but I wasn't doing 2 laps each time. Saturday is going to be tough, but Vanos said I need to dig deep. My old cross country coach used to tell us to dig deep sometimes. It brought back some good memories. It definitely fired me up for tonight's tempo run.

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