When racing a 5k I can run through tough conditions. Or at least when I get up at 3am to get to the race I tell myself that I'm going to race through anything because I got up so early!
My main goal for this race was to run a smart first mile. Lately I've been all about a fast start, which has been killing me at the end of races. This race started with a downhill but I made myself hold back and let a bunch of people pass me. I knew there was a big hill ahead where I could start catching people. First mile came in at 6:59 - right in the range Coach Matt told me to run for the first mile!
Although I was running slower than usual, I was already feeling the effort because of the weather. I was so glad I ran a smart first mile since I knew if I had run too fast I would have been in really bad shape. I told myself I just had to maintain this pace - it wasn't a day to PR and anyways I'm not in PR shape yet.
One thing I really love about out-and-back courses is seeing other runners on the way back. This helped me so much during Mile 2 and was my motivation to keep going. Seeing other people working hard and battling through the race made me want to work hard, too!
Of course, since it was an out-and-back course, it meant going over the big hill again on the way back to the finish line. As I ran up the hill I thought about some of the tough hill workouts Coach Matt has had me do. If I can do 12 hill repeats during a workout, I can certainly run this hill! When I got to the top, I could see the turn into the last portion of the race in the distance. Almost there!
Since I ran a really smart race, I had enough left for a kick to the finish. There wasn't anyone near me at the end of the race so I probably didn't kick as hard as I might have had I been racing someone. But it was still fun to do a little sprint to finish things off.
I finally feel like I'm getting back on track for running and racing. There's still work to be done to get back in PR shape but I feel it's possible this fall - maybe late October/early November. It definitely motivates me to continue training and working hard!
To continue this little racing block, I have another 5k this upcoming weekend - and so far the weather looks fantastic! Wish me luck - I'll once again work on a controlled start - and a strong kick into the finish!
My questions for you:
- What is your ideal start to a race?
- What do you think about when working your way up a hill during a race?
- How do you know you're in PR shape?