I think it is safe to assume that if you say you are training for a 5k, people think you are either a newbie or coming back from an injury. After all isn’t running all about conquering the marathon, or is it the 100 miler these days?
In March I ditched my Boston marathon training for the 5k. I just wasn’t feeling good on my long runs and I did not feel like I was progressing. It could be my new life at 6-7,200 feet or my heart was not into running so many 20 milers. My race, will be the 5k at the Senior Olympics, it is my first year, and before you scoff, the women’s 5k for 50-54 record time is 18:55 and the mens 16:27. How many of you have done that?
I took a 10k plan that Vince Sherry at the Run SMART Project wrote for me a couple of years ago when I was running a strong 22:00 on the Van Cordlandt XC course in the Bronx and a solid 45:00 in the 10k in Central Park, changed up some times to match my heart rate training, and altitude affects, i.e. lower performance.
Why is 5k harder than marathon training? First off, every week is between 40 and 50 miles, there is no build up, then taper. Almost every week is the same. There are two 10 or 11 miles runs and two track workouts, the 10 mile runs are the day after a track workout and I usually do them on the trail which means they are slow but much harder than the road. Track workouts amount to an average of 6 miles of running, often times mile repeats, but a favorite of mine is 4 x 200, 200, 400 with equal recovery. On easy days it is 6 -7 miles. There are no recovery weeks and only one rest day. And guess what? I am freakin’ beat, sore and cranky.
Today was rough. I have a high hamstring strain on the left side, I’m tired because I do not refuel well, and I just want the race to come. It is hard to run hard for 12 weeks!I met Michelle and it should have been really fun, bring the dogs, cut the running in half because I was so sore, and hike up 5 trail miles, then jog down, easy. Along the way we both agreed walking is way too hard. It takes too long, you get too hot and too tired. I brought Conrad and Homer who were also too hot. On the way down, Homer kept tripping me. He was tired and hot and stuck to my feet. The trail finally opened up to a very wide arroyo and we had just 2.5 miles left to run home when Homer clipped my left foot and went under my body, sending me to the ground with what felt like an arrow being shot into my left butt check. I felt searing pain as if I ripped my left leg right off my body, and started to cry in pain and frustrations. I sat there, the dogs running around me wanting to know what happened. I got up, and hobbled for the next half mile until I could straighten up. I felt really sad. We still had two miles to get home, where then Michelle got me some ice. It was a life saver on that 30 mile drive home.
I decided to thumb though my training books and read about “overreaching and overtraining” then I thought, “Hilary, you are an idiot, if you need to read what you are doing to yourself, you are obviously doing it.” Why is it hard to admit? Because none of the runs are long, 11 miles, the track workouts are fun, so how could it be overreaching? Well, not refueling properly, assuming it is not so hard and also adding 4-6 miles a day of dog walking, and the full 12 weeks without recovery is too much. I was running better at the end of March than I am now. So, what to do? Grill up some salmon and spinach, eat up and watch a good movie from the sofa. All with a block of ice stuck to my ass and the dogs piled on top of me. I still have 10 days to “recover.”