I’ve been having a lot of fun with my running of late and managed to get to all five parkruns in March! While things started well, with my best time of the year so far and a best ever age-graded result for me, the last few weeks have seen me plateau in terms of my parkrun times.
So, this week I decided that it was time to start training again properly to see if I can improve my time and finally reach that ever-elusive sub-30 milestone!
After watching a few You Tube videos on how to train for a faster 5K, I decided that I would increase my sessions to include some mid-week speed work where I am running at my goal pace, and then take it a bit easier at parkrun to allow myself some recovery for the mid-week runs.
Monday was my first speed session. Ideally I want to reach a point where I can run a three week cycle of 12 x 400 meters, 6 x 800 meters, and then 3 x 1 mile. However, as I am not used to running fast, I only managed 4 x 400 meters, which I guess is ok for starters.
I didn’t quite manage to hit the goal pace, but the results were still a fair bit faster than my 5K pace, so hopefully it will have been of some benefit. Obviously, I will need to do more than 4 reps to reap the benefits, but I was pleased that I did what I did and I had a lot of fun in the process.
By Saturday, while I felt that I was ready for parkrun, once I got going I realised that I wasn’t feeling particularly strong. This wasn’t surprising since I’m not great with recovery in general so I took it fairly easy.
The positive from this though, which was more by accident than by design, was that my pace remained fairly consistent and left enough for a bit of a kick at the end! Also, as I start a bit further back due to my slow pace, I always run a bit more than 5K, so the actual 5K time was a bit better.
The other issue with starting further back is that it takes a good few seconds before you actually get moving, never mind crossing the start line, so I checked out my data on Training Peaks to see what my results were for the actual course – i.e. the last 5K.
This was pretty encouraging as, even though all of my parkrun times go a bit over 5K, it still shows that I am pretty much where I ought to be at this stage.
I had hoped that I would have been able to do some kind of training today – if not a run, then at least a session on the exercise bike. However, I was feeling pretty fatigued so decided to take it easy and let my body recover properly for my mid-week speed work on Tuesday… or maybe Wednesday.
How’s your running going? What do you do to help improve your 5K times? How do you fit recovery into your routine to ensure that you get the most from your training? Please share your thoughts in the comments.