Monday, May 28

go fassa!!

from R

So, this started as a comment to the last post by Jim, but then it was really long, so I thought I'd just make it a post:

Do you read Runner's World? I read an article about 5K's recently where they were recommending running faster than you can maintain for the first mile--you might end up slowing down toward the end, but not enough to eat up all the time you gained at the beginning.

It's probably worth a shot--even if you miscalculate and totally bonk, it's just a 5K and there'll be another one in 2 weeks.

Here's the link:,7120,s6-238-244-259-11738-0,00.html
(if it doesn't work go to and search "5k", it's the article called "go out fast in your next 5k")

At least it's something different. The only other idea I have is that you look over your training log and whatever it looks like, do something different. Maybe next time do a 10k instead of a 5. Maybe do more hills. Maybe run twice in one day sometimes. Maybe do sprints on a track. Maybe more Fartlek. Maybe more rest.

So, has anyone actually tried starting a 5K faster than they can run it?

My latest long run, which is very sad and small compared to BL's long runs, went really well on Saturday. It's a nice, flat course along a bay, and there were plenty of people out enjoying the weather and long weekend. For the first half of the run (away from the car), I was maintaining a pretty steady pace, somewhat faster than I could maintain. After the turnaround point, I started playing mental games, because I mainly wanted to stop. Every time I heard someone coming up behind me in a car or on a bike, I'd "race" them to the next sign or bush (the speed limit is 15 mph on that road). If there were walkers up ahead, I'd race them to something ahead of them. If someone was coming toward me, I'd race them to a point between us. Not that they knew this. And when I reached that point, I'd let myself slow down a little if I wanted to... but then there'd be someone else. So it was a very inconsistent pace on the way back, but overall it matched the pace of the first half, and it may well have been the fastest I've ever gone 7 miles.

This mental game really works best if there are plenty of other people around. My dad, who used to run all the time around our little town back in the midwest, would play a different game: he usually pushed himself hard enough pace-wise, but then the main trick was to keep going. So he'd run as long as anyone could see him. That meant, as long as he was even in sight of a car or house, whether or not he could see a person.



Blogger bl said...

I play a similar game sometimes and it's fun. Although I probably don't play it enough.

It's becoming abundantly clear to me that I'm not pushing myself as hard as I can in training and in races.

May 28, 2007 6:54 PM  
Anonymous Kyler said...

One of the most important ways for me to gauge my pace, and to determine how much harder I can push myself, is to focus on my breathing. I normally have a very precise cadence: on easy runs I take 4 strides per breath, while "race pace" is a very steady 3 strides per breath. Throughout any run, I'll try to stay right on the edge, flirting with the transition from 4 to 3 or from 3 to 2 strides/breath. I'm always very aware of these transitions when I pick up the pace or when I back off, so it's a fantastic way for me to gauge how hard I'm pushing myself.
As an added benefit, the inward focus this provides can be quite a meditative experience for me. In that sense it's a lot like yoga, only more intense.

May 29, 2007 8:31 PM  
Blogger Jim Evans said...

I gauge my pace in a race by staying below the “pass out” and or puke threshold. I start out at a familiar race pace and adjust according to whether I can sustain the level of agony for the remainder of the race.

May 31, 2007 8:45 AM  

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