Saturday, March 19, 2011

Distance to speed

Signing up for a 5k seemed like a really good idea three months ago. A great mini goal to keep me running, and a MUCH shorter distance than my usual races. For weeks it loomed in the distance as something I really didn't have to think about. And of course my plans to train were side tracked with planning the biggest and best party of my life (duh, my wedding!)

No big deal, it's only a 5k. Or so I kept telling myself. The last time I ran a 5k was with Ralph, we ran 10mm and I wanted to throw up at the end. It was also like 90 degrees that morning. But despite all the painful memories I have of 5k's my mind could only recall the amazing speed workouts I had last fall while training for Philly. Cruising along, pushing hard with no other thoughts in my mind but coasting along as fast as I could. It was an amazing feeling.

So I went back to my regularly scheduled running program. This wasn't hard to do with Team Challenge forcing me out of bed on Saturday mornings for my long run. I managed to get to the gym a few nights a week and put in some miles on the treadmill. I was sweating, and feeling great. And then the other night, mid run, it hit me. I missed the feeling of running fast. I was about 1.5 miles in and decided this would probably be my last chance to throw in some speed before Sunday's race. If you could call it a race - it's more like a run that I get to wear a number and get an official time for. Races are for people that are ready. Me not so much.

Up went my speed, faster went my legs, and almost instantaneously I flashed back to all the 5k's I have ever ran. Pure. Torture. What had I gotten myself into? But as the interval ended, so did all my doubts. With shorter distance comes the push for faster speed. This is such unknown territory for me, but something I am also so excited to explore. How fast can I really go? What am I capable of? It's the complete opposite of the marathon where you rely on your endurance to keep you on your feet for hours at at time. I was entering a whole new world of running and runners, making the transition from distance to speed.

So I made a decision, the goal for tomorrow's race will be to pick a comfortably hard yet sustainable pace and just go for it. I want a nice good warm-up before hand because that's when I run my best. Who knows what my time will be, but whatever it is it is. This year, and maybe more is going to be about experimenting with different workouts, different distances, exploring the world of racing and seeing where the road takes me.

Have you ever switched up your distances? Gone from long to short, from marathon to ultra, or from 5k to longer? How do you adapt to the change?

xx Sara

1 comment:

Rachel said...

i can totally relate, i'm definitely a bit intimidated by 5ks. in fact i've only run two official ones ever, and didn't really race either. i can't help but wonder what i might be capable of though... but everytime i run fast, be it during intervals or a tempo, i feel so alive! for me, to truly be a runner, i need to master both speed and distance. good luck tomorrow - no matter what, at least it's over quick!