5k Time Trial — with Benefit of Expectation

For the week:    2:36    15.86 miles

So I experienced a real, substantive improvement, which I think can be pretty much attributed to the expectation put there by the coach.* He said I should be running the 1000s in around 3:20, which I pretty much knew would be insane if not impossible (absent threat of bodily harm or death). He asked me how long I was running 1000s. I scrambled through the Garmin, since I don’t think in terms of times usually. I rattled off the numbers. He just shook his head. “You’re wasting your time.” Ouch, but okay.

So today I ran 5 x 1000 knowing I would run hard, but probably not push myself into the suggested “state of shock,” as I’m pretty sure the remaining laps would be useless if I went into shock in the first one. I immediately “knew” I couldn’t keep the pace of the first lap. And before I had even started I had discounted the idea of running 8 x 1000, as suggested, as I’m pretty sure the pace would degenerate pretty rapidly, as it did on my final lap here.

Still, there’s just no denying the psychological component here. I did not gain massive amounts of fitness in the last week. If anything, I was a little sore from the weekend. But today’s final, slowest lap was a full 8 seconds faster than my first, fastest lap last week. And the funny thing is, I finished today’s workout slightly disappointed, knowing I could work harder. Looking at the numbers at home I was astonished. In theory, it suggests I could run a 19:30 5k — not something I’d imagined possible at this point. Sure, it’s just a time trial, but there it is.

[*Okay, it does occur that I ran this on asphalt, which I did not last week, and probably accounts for a significant part of the difference in times. Still.]

(I happen to be re-reading Run: The Mind-Body Method of Running By Feel by Matt Fitzgerald, which has a lot of good stuff about the psychology of running — in short, recommended.)

The numbers follow, with last week’s lap results in parentheses:


today:            19:37       3.11 miles        6:19 min/mile

last week:     21:31       3.11 miles        6:56 min/mile


lap 1       3:35       5:47 min/mile   (4:15, 6:52 pace)

lap 2       3:54       6:17 min/mile   (4:26, 7:11 pace)

lap 3       3:58      6:25 min/mile   (4:37, 7:28 pace)

lap 4       4:00      6:27 min/mile   (4:38, 7:29 pace)

lap 5       4:08      6:40 min/mile   (4:41, 7:34 pace)





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