Thursday, March 31, 2016

Countdown until the race

My goal race is getting closer and closer. It seems like just last week that I was returning to training after my 10-month-long stress fracture ordeal. I'm so glad that I decided to cut out the half-marathon and marathon distances and focus on my speed for the 10K. The changes I've made, both with the running and with the calorie counting, have really helped me to get refocused on my goals, and it's been awesome.

This week, being the week before race week, means that it is my peak week for the race. This is the last chance for me to push myself and see what I can do! Yesterday's speed work was going to be my final, big, confidence-building run. Last week, I completed the "best 10K workout", and I felt SO excited to have nailed it. However, I completed it just a bit early. Ideally, it would have been done between 9 and 12 days before my race.

I wasn't quite sure what to do--should I do the same workout in the ideal time frame? Or should I try a different tough workout? When I mentioned it to Jerry, he said that he didn't think I should do the same one, because what if I couldn't do as well as I had before. It would destroy my confidence in the race. I knew he was right, so I decided to try something different, but just as effective.
Yesterday, I was 10 days out from my race, so it would have to be my final hardcore speed workout. I was having trouble making up my mind about what workout to do, so I decided to simply start running, and see what felt right once I got out there--totally winging it. I usually do best in those situations for some reason.

I dressed in the clothes I am planning to race in (Heat Gear capris and a tank, with my Brooks Ghost shoes). Then I headed out for a (hopefully) confidence-boosting run. About a quarter mile in, my pace was at 8:10, which would have made a good tempo run pace. But I asked myself what would make me feel the most confident going into the race, and that answer was running at race pace for four miles.

So, I picked up the speed a touch, trying to stay close to 7:55 without going too fast. I decided on an out-and-back route. A 7:55 pace is tough, but I felt decent, and I was able to maintain it without too much trouble. Once I turned around two miles in, I started rethinking it. I really didn't want to go two more miles at that pace! However, I knew this run was crucial--perhaps the most important run of my training--so I pushed on.

I had done a 3.5-mile race pace run before, a few weeks ago, so I focused on hitting that distance mark. Once I hit 3.51 miles, I would have run my farthest distance at a sub-8:00 pace (other than my current 10K PR). Of course, once I hit 3.5, I knew I could push myself to finish out another half mile. At mile 3.75, I was tired and wanted to stop, but physically, I knew I was capable of going farther. I could either turn right onto my street, and finish mile four in front of my house; or, I could go straight, and add a little more distance to my run. I actually chose to keep going!

I thought, "I can do 4.5--think how awesome I'll feel if I do 4.5 miles at race pace!" And that became my focus. It was then that I remembered telling Stephanie during our recent long run that I might try and run a sub-40 8K on Memorial Day this year (an 8K is 4.97 miles). The last time I ran that race, I finished in 40:31. Being so close to sub-40 in 2013 made me wish that I'd tried just a bit harder. (My 40:31 time actually earned me first place in my age group, though!)

Anyway, I realized that if I could push myself to finish five miles, it would be a new (unofficial) PR for both four miles and five miles, as well as 8K. I was imagining the "Notables" on Smashrun telling me that it was my fastest 8K and 5 mile time ever, which made me decide to go for it. I knew if I could hit 5 miles, then I'd be as confident as possible going into the race a week from Sunday.

As soon as I made that decision at mile 4.5, I was wishing I could put on Eminem's Berzerk on my iPod. That song always makes me pumped up, so I like to listen to it last during a tough run. I was debating whether to get my iPod out and fiddle with it to choose that song, and then suddenly it came on! It was the sign I needed to push on.

When I turned onto my street, I was so excited that I had (almost) done it! As soon as my Garmin beeped for mile five, I stopped the watch and jogged slowly until I reached my house. I had actually just run 5 miles at a 7:50 pace!!


My splits were all sub-8:00, and I did, in fact, get some cool notables on Smashrun:



Once again, I noticed that my hard-but-comfortable heart rate is 174 beats per minute. Once it hits 175, I start to struggle. I find that pretty interesting.

After yesterday's run, having done 5 miles at race pace, I am almost positive I can hit my goal at my 10K! Of course, other factors will come into play--a different course, different time zone, out of the norm routine, etc.--but physically, I am capable of running a 49:22 (or faster) 10K. The countdown is on! :)

By the way, if anyone from the Portland or Seattle area is interested in a meet-up, I was tentatively thinking we could do coffee on Saturday morning (April 9th) in Portland, or drinks on Monday evening (April 11th) in Seattle. If that interests you, send me an email and we can work out details!

23 comments:

  1. I love that the song came on just in time! That's awesome and a true sign! You totally nailed this!! I can't wait to hear about your race in just a few weeks!!

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    1. It was perfect timing for that song to come on! I never used to train with music, but lately I have been, and it certainly helps on my hard runs.

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  2. Yay Katie! We'll be rooting for you to hit your goal on race day. All your hard work will pay off! Thanks for sharing all this with us on your blog.

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    1. Thank you Jen! I certainly hope I can hit my goal on race day. I've been talking it up so much, I would hate to not reach that goal--but anything can happen, so we'll see :)

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  3. Way to go Katie!! You are amazingly fast. I run 8:10 pace for my short, short intervals. No way I could keep that up very long much less than a 7:55. Good luck with the race

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    1. My short intervals were roughly a 7:50-8:00 pace when I first started training for this 10K... a TON of hard work has gone into improvement, but it's working :)

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  4. I am sure you are fully prepared for the desired PR

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    1. I feel prepared! Just hoping that I feel that way on race morning ;)

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  5. That's awesome- you can totally do it!!

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  6. Katie do you ever do local meetups or is it too much because you have so many local fans ��? Just curious no pressure.

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    1. I would love to do a local meet-up, actually. I've never done one because I've met several readers at races or just one-on-one. But I'll put some thought into a good place for a local meet. I'm always open to meeting readers!

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  7. You used to run in Altras, right? Did you find that they don't work for you now?

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    1. I wore Brooks Adrenalines for years, and then started wearing Altras for about a year. Then I tried Brooks Ghost, and LOVED them. Now, I alternate between different pairs of shoes, but the Ghosts are my favorite.

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  8. I got goosebumps when I read that your song came on! Way to go!

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    1. The timing couldn't have been more perfect! Thanks :)

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  9. Such a positive post, you're definitely on your way to getting the PR. Exciting!

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  10. wow, that's amazing. I'm so impressed! I love your training plan!

    if i can ever get back to running, i want to try it. until then, i'll be working out in my living room with kids crawling all over me.

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    1. Thank you Abby! Exercising with kids can be tricky; it just requires some creativity ;)

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  11. I've got a question about heart rate training, and the 80/20 running book in particular. I only run three days a week (30-40 minutes twice a week on weekdays and one long run on Saturday). It seems like most of the people I've read about who are doing heart rate training are running much more frequently (5-6 days a week). In fact, a lot of them say that they credit the heart rate training with being able to run more frequently. That's awesome for them, but not for me. Do you think the technique is still applicable and could achieve results for someone who only wants to run three days a week? Are all of Fitzgerald's training plans for 5-6 days a week? Thanks, and good luck on your goal race!

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    1. Hi Lauren! Good question. In a perfect world, people would have the time to dedicate 5-6 days a week to running, but that's just not realistic for some people. The main point of the 80/20 method is to keep the ratio at 80/20 regardless of how many miles you're running. To keep it simple, let's say your easy pace is 10:00/mile, and you can run 40 minutes twice a week (80 minutes) plus a long run. Let's say your long run is 10 miles, done at easy pace (100 minutes). That's 180 minutes per week at an easy pace. You could sneak in some speed work at the end of your long run or do one of your weekly runs at a tempo pace, or something like that; but you just don't want your moderate-hard running to be more than 20% of your easy running. In this case, let's say you do 10 x 2 minutes fast (with 1 min recovery jogs) at the end of your long run. That's only 20 minutes (plus 10 minutes of recovery jogs, which count as hard in this case), so you'd have 150 minutes easy for the week, and 30 minutes hard, which is a ratio of 80/20. Technically, the long run counts as moderate running, but I think as long as you're keeping the pace super easy, it shouldn't make much of a difference (unless you're doing 20 milers--that's definitely not an easy run!)
      Sorry if this is confusing! To answer your question, yes--you could still do the 80/20 method. All of Fitzgerald's plans are for 6-7 days a week(!) which is too much even for me. I do my own plan, but adjust it to be a ratio of 80/20 (or even less than 20).

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I'd love to hear from you! I read all of my comments, and if you have a question, I do my best to respond; sometimes, however, I get busy and forget to go back to reply, so if it's important, just email me! :)