Pacing to BQ

So the days of Spring are long gone, and so are the days of being lazy, cooped up and on the couch by 7:30pm.  Summer is here, and a new strategy for fitness and speed has hatched.

Summer is always an interesting season for me running wise.  It’s usually too hot for distance training, but the abundant daylight offers so many more chances for the runs I like to do.  Runs during the evening!  Typically I hate running in the dark, as it is very unmotivating to me.  This time of year I can afford to come home from work, relax for a few hours, and then head out for a run.  It makes me happy to be able to do that.  I hate feeling rushed, and feeling like I need to get in my runs when I am not mentally or physically prepared for them.

Almost four weeks have passed since my last marathon, and I have been busy preparing for what’s next.  I took a week off first of all, and really let my muscles recharge.  I intentionally signed up for a local 10k in the beginning of June so that I would have to start doing some shorter, faster runs to prepare for it.  If you’re anything like me, distance training can become monotonous.  I get into ruts, and feel like I can’t improve my speed. It’s always a given that I race faster than I train, but this idea I had is twofold, and hatched almost three weeks ago.

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I was going to train for speed.  Focus on pace, and improving my focus.  My eighth run is today, and the seven runs at the beginning of this plan are leading me in the right direction.  I am trying to mix speed work, with endurance to try to achieve a BQ.  I have been shooting for 8 minute miles, and for me, it has been fun, but not easy.  You see, my normal training runs are on some hills, and I usually end up with an overall pace of somewhere in the 8:40 range.  For this plan I tried to choose the flattest route (it’s not flat) that I could to work on speed.  The first mile is always my slowest, no matter how hard I try.  But my results are becoming more what I need to see to possibly make my dream of a BQ come to fruition.

On 5/13 I paced 7:59 for a 5k.  On 5/15 I paced 7:59 at 3.25 miles.  I slipped a bit on 5/17 with am 8:12 for 3.25 miles, but I had worked all day on my feet and was tired.  On 5/18 I yearned for hills, so mixed those in and ended up at an 8:43 pace for 3.5 miles.  Then, super speedy day on 5/20 with 3.5 miles at 7:51 pace.  Two more runs of 4 and 3.5 miles right near 8:00, and I am pleased with how I am doing.  I will push myself hard on 6/6 during the 10k.  I want to see what’s possible, but with like 20+ turns on a challenging course, we’ll just have to wait and see what happens.

Until then, I will keep pushing the pace envelope.  After the race, my focus will be pushing the pace during training runs down to 7:45. I need a pace of 7:49 over the full course of a marathon to BQ, so training for it will be crucial .  The best I’ve done in a marathon thus far is 8:06 pace.  I’ve got work to do!

I will have six weeks after the 10k to be ready for my marathon.  Like I said, I have my work cut out for me, but without a challenge I become complacent, and I do not want that!  I’ve got to see what I am capable of.  Wish me luck!

What are your favorite training go-to’s for increasing speed?  Pleas share!  Happy training yawl!

The Fast & Furious 10K

Early on in my racing career I only ran short distance races.  I became a real sucker for the feeling of going all out, and competing.  As I grew in the sport of running I began a quest for more distance.  Those numerous 5k races were becoming a bit boring, so I searched out the next level.  The elusive 10k.

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I’m not sure about you, but the 10k distance is hard to come by.  A 10k race around here is few and far between.  Funny thing is, that back a few years ago when I was learning to run further, I would seek out 10k races.  If you can believe it, I even would travel to 10k’s.  Twice making a mini weekend at the beach (a two and a half hour drive away) to run a 10k race.  Another time I drove 4.5 hours down into South Carolina to run one.  Crazy!  I wouldn’t do that now.  Those 10k’s are still hard to find though.

My next race is local, and one of the few 10k’s in the area.  I haven’t run a race shorter than a Half Marathon in almost a year.  In fact, the 10k I have coming up is that same race.  With that being said, my training focus over the next few week turns to speed versus distance.  I’m so used to running 26.2 miles, that subtracting twenty miles out of that distance seems kinda cool.  Yes, 6.2 miles will be considerably easier than running a marathon, but I haven’t been running sub 8 minute miles in quite some time.  Focusing on speed is sort of foreign to me right now.

My last 10k in June of 2014 was run at a pace of 7:47 per mile.  A finish time of 48:25.  Pretty good, but far from my best.  See, I was also running a 5k race about 45 minutes after that 10k, so I wasn’t going full throttle.  This time I can.  My PR at the 10k distance goes way back to October of 2011.  I ran a 43:09 at the Hilton Head Island Bridge Run.  A speedy 6:56 pace!  Man, how did I do that?  Would love that result again in a few weeks, but I will settle for anything that beats my time from last year.

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My plan of attack…  Run three, four and five mile training runs focusing on speed.  It has been fun.  I have a few more weeks of training runs, so I should be ready.  My last 3.1 mile training run was a 7:58 pace, so I know come race day that I can pull in a better result.

How do you feel about the 10k distance?  Do you run them frequently?  Are they a hard to find race distance where you live?  Is it easy for you to switch gears, and race different distances?  I’m finding it tougher and tougher to find my old speed because I usually race longer distances now.  Any training tips you think might help me find that fast and furious speed?