- Name: 49th Birthday Solo 5K Time Trial
- Date: September 25, 2020
- Distance: 5km
- Location: Lafayette, CO
- Strava: https://www.strava.com/activities/4110537270
- Time: 20:53/7
Like everyone else, I picked up running again during quarantine. A decade ago I was a 2:48/1:17/35/17 guy running about 60-70 miles per week, then I quit cold turkey after my last marathon in 2011. The intervening years saw a few lackluster attempts at resuming, but with no lasting consistency.
Anyway, back in May of this year I decided to start training semi-seriously again and after a 23:03 solo time trial off very little mileage, I figured a sub-20 minute 5K when I turn 50 in 2021 was a good goal. Maybe that’s a little far out but I wanted to get back to the process, and not rush the outcomes.
So I spent the next 6 weeks just running easy for 25-30 miles per week. I ran another solo time trial in 22:17 in June during a virtual 5K, and then in July I bailed on a third solo time trial on the track after crashing and burning in the second mile. At that point, I was bored with just easy runs, tempos, and fartleks, and decided I needed more structure, so I found this 22 minute 5K plan and started following that.
Originally I thought I would aim for sub-22 with this plan, but I did two 4 week training blocks and found that my times on the track were correlating more with sub-21, rather than sub-22. All my 1000s were in the sub-4:10 range, 800s in 3:20, and 400s in 1:40. I was also running my “long runs” as either tempo runs or fast-finish progression runs, so about 8 miles starting around 8 min/mile and finishing under 7 min/mile.
During these last two blocks I averaged around 35 miles/week with one day of a rest, though I got up to 45 miles during one week of experimentation (and felt really strong after as a result). In the last two weeks I did 5x1k at sub-4:10, an 8 mile tempo at 7:25ish, and 6×800 at 3:15, so I figured I was ready to go under 21.
I haven’t been sleeping well and only got about 5 hours the night before and about the same two nights prior. I don’t eat before morning runs or races, so I got up, drank some water, and jogged 2 miles over to the track. I intended to get there about 7am, but got there a little after 8am. 65 degrees, partly cloudy, and there was a slight crosswind which picked up during the run.
I had asked a son and my friend to come pace me, or at least give me some fan support, but they both dipped, so solo it was. I decided to use my GPS watch to pace myself, setting it to auto lap each kilometer, since I didn’t want to be responsible for hitting the lap button. I typically run and race with mile splits, but thought the increased frequency of kilometers would help me maintain an even pace (I think this was a good choice).
I was nervous at the start line, knowing it would hurt and wondering if I would quit again.
As expected, I started too fast, but it wasn’t like my last disastrous time trial where I knew I was doomed 200m in. I wanted to hit constant 25s 100m, 50s 200m, 1:40 400s, but the first 100 was a few seconds fast and the first lap the same.
But this time, I felt strong, if a little nervous, and decided to try to maintain as long as I could and “bank time” (never a good idea). The first two kilometers went by without much fanfare, but I started to struggle on the third kilometer. I was playing the mental games of “one more 400 then two 1000s to go”, etc.
The fourth kilometer was death. My legs were heavy, there was a hint of a side stitch. Honestly, it was all I could do to keep moving and not quit. I ran with my eyes closed for short stretches. But once I got to 3800 meters I knew I could finish, I just wasn’t sure if I could hit my goal. I was too tired to do the math.
The final kilometer I tried to save any remaining energy until the last 400, and was about to toss up a lung during the final 200. I crossed the 5000m line and hit my watch at 20:53, but my GPS read 4.99 km. Ugh, I couldn’t have that on my Strava, so I resumed the watch and ran .01 km in another four seconds.
Jogged two miles home, ate the birthday breakfast my wife made, and took a nap.
Takeaways: the structure of the online plan was very helpful. It’s nice not having to think about what to run, and just get up and do it. The interval times in the plan seemed right on, but I think it was too soft on the long run, and it is missing longer repeats, and more miles at goal pace. Leading up to the time trial I ran very few miles at or near race pace, and then only if I was really feeling it at the end of a long run. Some 2K or mile repeats would be of much value I think. During the actual time trial, it was kind of a shock to not get any rest after my first and second kilometers, since I was so used to that on the track.
I’m not sure what I’ll do next. Continue 5K training? Try to work on my “speed” at mile and shorter? Up my mileage? I have another year to get under 20 minutes, but winter is coming and I find it hard to train through, so I’m not sure where I go next.
Made with a new race report generator created by /u/herumph.