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Bay Area Turkey Day Run - Run

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Clear Lake, Texas
United States
On the Run
52F / 11C
Total Time = 23m 55s
Overall Rank = 65/504
Age Group = F30-39
Age Group Rank = 2/74
Pre-race routine:

Okay, so this is not going to be one of those positive, I-did-great, I'm-so-happy-with-my-performance kinds of reports. This is going to be a very honest report and if anyone actually reads it, I'd certainly appreciate some feedback because at this point, I feel like I'm just wasting my time with running....wondering if I should just give up and try to find something else to do.

My plan for this winter was to do a run focus and make some improvements before next tri season. I started this run focus in mid-September, running six days a week, which includes a tempo run (focusing on HM pace), a threshold run (focusing on 5k pace), a long run, and the remaining runs done at an easy pace. I raced this race last year on just a couple months of running (after coming back from an injury that had me out of running for well over a year), probably less than 20 mpw. I ran it at 7:50/mile pace and was super excited about it.

Since this race last year, I've put in 1390 miles. Most weeks were in the 30 - 35 mpw range, with a few weeks off or less for taper/racing/recovery, and a number of weeks closer to 40 mpw. Other than the last couple months, all of my running was done at a conversational pace -- so easy running, but a decent volume (run lots -- mostly easy).

So after a solid year of running, I came into this race expecting to make some improvements....and by some, I was expecting about 15-20s/mile. That clearly did not happen and at this point, I feel like I wasted an entire year for nothing. I'm at a loss as to how to get better. I see people running far less volume who easily throw down times faster than this. Everyone says my gait is fucked up, but I don't know how to fix it. I'm going to try to find a running coach to see if we can make some changes that don't result in me getting injured, but I don't know if I'll just be wasting my time and money at that point because it seems that what works for "everyone" clearly doesn't work for me.
Event warmup:

One mile of easy running followed by 4x30" strides at 5k pace on 1' recovery, then a few more minutes of easy running back to the start line
  • 23m 55s
  • 5 kms
  • 04m 47s  min/km

At race start, I told myself to keep to my pace and not worry about everyone shooting out of the gate. It was hard, but I was holding myself back. I was targeting a 7:30 mile for the first mile and then hoping I could hold on and/or quicken the pace just slightly. I was feeling okay for the first mile, but when it came in slow (7:37), I started to get a little concerned. I told myself to just brush it off and keep pushing.

During the second mile, you can see those in front of you coming back after the turn around. I occupied my mind for a bit watching for people I knew and soon enough, I was at the turn around too. I made the turn and started to chase down a guy in front of me. After a few minutes, I caught him and made the pass....second mile clicked off at 7:47. WTF? I was hurting pretty badly at this point....I was disappointed that I couldn't maintain my pace -- not even close. Again, I told myself to brush it off and just keep pushing....keep up the effort, try to pick up the pace.

Part way through the third mile, everything was legs felt flat the entire run and it definitely wasn't getting any better, my lungs were now starting to burn, and my stomach felt like it was in knots. At some point, I seriously considered just dropping off and jogging it in. But I knew I'd be disappointed in myself for not giving it what I had, so I kept pushing as much as I could....even if it was at a pathetic 7:55 pace.

I crossed the finish line and I couldn't do anything....I wanted to cry. Everything hurt and I knew I'd done poorly. They cut the timing chip off my shoe and I just kept walking, on the verge of hyperventilating and crying. I really didn't know what to do with myself, I just hurt so bad. There's definitely no part of me that believes I didn't give it everything I had -- I'm just disappointed with how little there apparently is to give :(

I hate racing and being disappointed with myself at the end. I don't train and race to "stay in shape" (that's never been an issue for me) -- I do this to make improvements and see how much my hard work pays off. And when the hard work doesn't pay off, I'm extremely disappointed and confused and....well, I guess disappointed is the most appropriate word. It just really sucks to feel like I put in the effort, but don't get the results. I'm not used to being bad at things....I'm not always the best, but I work hard and get better....and for whatever reason, my running just never seems to get better.
What would you do differently?:

I don't know, I wish I knew...
Post race
Warm down:

After my crying/hyperventilating issue was resolved, I did a short warm-down run, then changed into some dry clothes before stretching and eating a banana

What limited your ability to perform faster:

I don't have a good answer....I wish I did. Maybe my fucked up run gait? Maybe 30 - 35 mpw is not enough....or is too much? Maybe I'm just destined to be a mediocre runner? I don't know, but I'm all ears if anyone has suggestions.

Last updated: 2014-11-27 12:00 AM
00:23:55 | 05 kms | 04m 47s  min/km
Age Group: 2/74
Overall: 0/504
Performance: Bad
Keeping cool Average Drinking
Post race
Weight change: %
Mental exertion [1-5]
Physical exertion [1-5]
Good race?
Course challenge
Organized? Yes
Events on-time? Yes
Lots of volunteers? Yes
Plenty of drinks? Yes
Post race activities: Average
Race evaluation [1-5] 4

2014-11-27 3:09 PM

User image

Houston, Texas
Subject: Bay Area Turkey Day Run

2014-11-27 10:01 PM
in reply to: 0

User image

, Massachusetts
Subject: RE: Bay Area Turkey Day Run
The only way to get faster is to train faster. Less long slow distance, more track intervals, sprints, etc. Running 30-35 MPW at a conversational pace will build endurance but will never make you faster. Add a high-intensity track workout once a week and I bet you'll start to see improvements quickly.

Also, do you do any strength training? People tend to underestimate the importance of building strong hips, hamstrings, and core when it comes to running.

Good luck!

Edited by dgconner154 2014-11-27 10:02 PM
2014-11-27 10:48 PM
in reply to: #5070463

Subject: RE: Bay Area Turkey Day Run
First. You had a rough day. Deal with it and move on. One bad race is just that, and its hard to compare one year to the next. Perhaps last year you ran your best race, and this year you ran your worst. The extra time spent running was not a waste.

I'm not in 100% in the "train faster to run faster" camp. There are times though when this is the best way to go, but if I were to put myself into a camp, it would be in the "run more" camp.

30 to 35 mpw is a decent amount of running, but it is far from alot. If your body can absorb the extra training and you pushed yourself to a consistent 50+ mpw, you would probably get faster. Actually, I would be shocked if you didn't.

If you were concerned with your form, I would work in some strides/accelerations into at least one workout per week. Accelerate smoothly, and run smoothly as fast as you can manage. Do 100 meter repeats, start with maybe 6, and then get to 8 or 10 repeats after a few weeks. The key with these is to run fast, but even more so to run smooth.

Lastly, I don't want to discount running fast. If you have a goal pace for an event, you have to teach your body to be (relatively) comfortable at that pace. You should know going into a race how your body will feel running at a given pace.
2014-11-29 10:14 AM
in reply to: ImSore

User image

Houston, Texas
Subject: RE: Bay Area Turkey Day Run

Thanks for your thoughts.  I'm sure my body could tolerate higher running volumes, but something would have to give as I don't have time to add more running and maintain swimming and biking.  

My real goal is to improve my HIM run split, not to run a fast 5k.  I just thought that with the additional volume over last year, that I would be significantly faster.  It seems that ton of people say they train for a marathon and PR their 5k, so I guess I was just expecting that with a lot of additional volume over last year, that it was basically guaranteed.

That said, it was a 5k PR and I know I shouldn't be disappointed.  I also know that my heart and lungs are capable of more....but I just couldn't get my legs to turn over any faster.  So I think there's probably a lot of truth in needing to teach my body to tolerate a faster pace.  I'm reevaluating my run training now, so I guess we'll see it it makes any impact.  I have a 12k coming up at the end of December and HM in mid-January.  The real test, I guess, will be Galveston 70.3 in April though. 

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