Over the weekend, I figured out what was â€œwrongâ€ with my Speedy 5K training plan. As I wrote last Friday, â€œI need to find a way to get over the hump â€“ I feel a little stuck at my current level. I know I have it in me to be faster and run longer without feeling as winded, but Iâ€™m struggling to find it. No matter what I do each week; it just doesnâ€™t get â€œeasier,â€ and Iâ€™ve never encountered this problem.â€
I consulted my running buddy guru, Megan, for some advice. She easily identified what I was doing wrong.
According to Megan, Iâ€™m simply not running enough miles per week to sustain a speedy 5K. â€œYouâ€™ve got to run far and run fast to break your 5K personal record,â€ she said. And after staring at my running log, I knew she was right.
A breakdown of the last seven weeks:
- Week 1: 5.0 miles <â€” Post-Century bike ride
- Week 2: 12.1 miles
- Week 3: 14.0 miles
- Week 4: 10.35 miles
- Week 5: 10.5 miles <â€” moving week
- Week 6: 7.5 miles <â€” wedding in Pennsylvania week
- Week 7: 14.87 miles
Now, Iâ€™ve never been particularly fast or a serious long-distance runner, and Iâ€™ve usually squeaked by on the minimal safe mileage required to do my races. Why? Well, running is hard. :) Even for my marathon, I only had 3 weeks out of 22 that I ran more than 30 miles, and I peaked at 36.5 miles per week. And I was totally fine the day of the race â€“ but I wasnâ€™t running for time.
As a newbie to any race distance, I DEFINITELY think itâ€™s fine to only run the minimal safe weekly distance (check out Hal Hidgonâ€™s plans for some ideas). If youâ€™re learning to run and want to do a 5K, itâ€™s fine to do 9 â€“ 12 miles per week total towards the end of training. But when you want to improve your times, youâ€™ve got to put in the mileage.
So, Iâ€™m going to extend my weekly totals to 20+ miles per week by adding an extra 4 â€“ 5 miler (which I ran yesterday). Additionally, Megan suggested I drag out my warm-up and cool-downs on speedwork days to add an extra mile or two. This is also good because it will allow me to prepare for two half marathons I have planned in September and November.
On that noteâ€¦
Today was a speedwork day, which meant writing my plan on my arm in marker. :) Yes, I know I can program this into my Garmin 305, but Iâ€™m not really sure how AND Iâ€™m lazy. Markers are cooler.
Because of a blister, I had to cut my run a little short (the moleskin came off)! But I still ended up with a GREAT speedwork session.
- Distance: 4.75 miles
- Duration: 44:03
I did as follows:
- Warm-up: 1,600 meters (1 mile) at 10:00/pace
- Sprints: 400 meters (0.25 mile) at 8:00/pace with 100 meters rest in between. Repeat times 8.
- Cool-down: Approx 2,000 meters (1.25 miles) at 9:00/pace
Pre-workout snack was some
cinnachip bread crack that I dug out of the freezer (the only place itâ€™s safe):
And post-workout lunch was a vegetarian refried bean wrap + parsnip fries.
The wrap included arugula, feta, and tomatoes.
Parsnip fries! I missed them.
Question for the runners out there:
How many miles do you run per week? How many miles do you think as â€œrequiredâ€ to run a fast 5K? Do you have a personal â€œburnoutâ€ mileage that you never get past per week?
*TWSS = Thatâ€™s What She Said. Donâ€™t lie â€“ you laughed at the title.