Not a PR: By 1.2 seconds

Despite my recent fall hiatus from racing to allow for full recovery of mental and physical faculties, I decided at the last minute  to jump into a neighborhood 5K just for fun. I almost never race on the road. I prefer the adventure and challenge of racing on trails. I also like that trails make comparing times much more difficult, and usually impossible. The temptation to become a numbers freak always worrying about times and paces disappears with the first rocky singletrack section.

But racing once in a while on roads or the track is good too. It’s nice to run on a consistent marked course to see what kind of pace I really can manage with my current level of fitness. If and when I do any anaerobic style training, I know what kind of pace to use. It also allows me to set reasonable time goals for the few events I want to do on the road, like a half marathon and eventually a full marathon.

I last ran this race a couple of years ago slightly faster.

I missed my 5K PR by 1.2 seconds!

Seriously, how can this be? I also ran the Squaw Mountain Run in nearly the exact same time as the previous year. How do I interpret these results?

The Glass is Half Empty:

All that slow aerobic Maffetone training isn’t helping. Train fast, if you want to race fast!

The Glass is Half Full:

I haven’t aged in three years. I’m capable of the same performance.

In reality, this has been a tough year since I started by missing all of January with pneumonia and had to start rebuilding my fitness from ZERO. So I’m not worried yet. I’ll stick to Maffetone for the time being because I enjoy it. I’ll run a half marathon instead of a full marathon for other, related reasons. My race pace now finally reflects my MAF test results, showing that my aerobic system is catching up with my anaerobic speed. So now the long, patient work of building an even bigger aerobic engine for next season begins. I’ll race again next month, then focus on MAF all the way to April before worrying about racing again.

5K Time: 23:00 41st overall out of 500(?) runners


About vegpedlr

Plant powered off-road triathlete

Posted on October 13, 2012, in Race Report, Uncategorized and tagged , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 4 Comments.

  1. In my experience, PRs show up at the oddest times. I ran my fastest 5K last November, only three weeks after another 5K. Did I really gain all kinds of aerobic capacity in those three weeks? I don’t think so. Maybe I was better rested. Or maybe the previous 5K acted as “speedwork” for the November 5K. In any case, I agree with you regarding the Maffetone method. I think keeping ones heart rate low to moderate during training is an excellent way to balance running for fun with making ones health a top priority.

    I’m still trying to navigate my way through Jeff Novick’s arguments against “extreme exercise.” I’m also trying to figure out if I am one of those guilty of extreme exercising. In reaction to the discussion on the McDougall forum about the impact of extreme exercise, I have decided that the half marathon I plan to run three weeks from now will be my last race of the year.

    I had planned to run either a 10K or a half marathon in December. But that’s out. Also, I am going to try to only run one half marathon in the first half of next year. I’ll have to decide between two half marathons, only two weeks apart. It’s hard to make these decisions since I am not entirely sure of how unhealthy a single half marathon is for my heart, especially if I train according to Maffetone.

    Moderation in all things, including trying to become fast.

    • I agree. I hadn’t planned much racing for the fall, deciding to play it by ear. My ear has said not to race. A 5K is not hard, twenty some minutes of effort, and you’re recovered in a couple of days. In the meantime, I will to continue to run and bike strictly aerobically about an hour a day in order to maintain and build a little fitness for next season. But I haven’t yet decided how to plan next year’s race season. I’ll leave that for New Year’s Day.

      • I’m still planning to do my half marathon in two weeks (assuming my infected toe heals pretty soon, ouch!) and my first full next June. Not too concerned about the studies about possible long-term heart damage as I’m not planning to do these kinds of races on a regular basis.

        I also know that not that long ago, within my lifetime in fact, it was recommended that women not race at all because it would cause our uteruses to drop out or some such nonsense. And now we have women running – and winning! – ultramarathons. I won’t be racing a 50+ miler any time soon, probably never, but I could see a 50K sometime in my future… Regular walking breaks are the key for me, that’s the way primitive people did it, walk and run all day long.

      • Please hold on to your uterus! JK That was pretty bizarre, glad we’re beyond that. I only worry abut the heart issue because I’m a triathlete and a cyclist and I like to go LONG. Four hour triathlons, eight hour MTB races, so I need to keep a close eye on my recovery. I’m eyeing that SF half as well, last race of the year maybe. The nothing until April.

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