Kicking things up a notch

running, speed workDespite setting a PR in the 10k in April, and having two more 10ks under my belt this year, I’ve been lacking speed in my workouts. I have actually been faster in my comeback and I’ve had a few runs in which I pushed it a bit at the end or stepped up the middle miles, but as I have built a base I’ve focused heavily on just getting the miles in. While the miles are important, I do want to aim for faster times in races this summer. So today I unintentionally did speed work on my lunch run with a nice progressive 5k. My first mile was just under 9 minutes, the second mile was just under 8 minutes and the third mile was a little more than 7:30. I pushed that final tenth of a mile just under 40 seconds. It helped having a co-worker with me, and I'm not sure if I was pushing him or he was pushing me. It just kind of happened.

It felt great, even in the mid-day heat, and it was the second straight day of pushing it a bit at a shorter distance. It also comes on the heels of having very tired legs following what I did at Relay for Life – yesterday I really didn’t want to run and today I was feeling very indifferent about it.

However, today’s run – which included a pretty intense up and down hill in the first and final miles – gave me the boost I needed as I prepare to sign up for a 5k that’s next weekend. It will be my first 5k race since October and just the second since April 2010.

It’s odd that the distance I’ve raced the most since 2004 is one that I feel the most unprepared for right now. I’m probably way off getting a PR (22:40), but I at least have more confidence following these couple of runs. Today’s run, with a time of 25:18, is faster than four other 5ks I’ve done, so you better believe I’m looking forward to unleashing more speed.

Under race conditions with a little bit cooler weather, I think I could knock off about a minute of today's time, but I really won't know until I do it ...

Image: Danilo Rizzuti / FreeDigitalPhotos.net