Training To Break Under 22 Minutes In A 5K Running Race 2012.
I started running three years ago to lose weight, get in shape, relieve stress and feel better.
I ran my first 5K in 31 minutes in 2009. The more I ran the more I improved, to the point I broke 22 minutes in a 5K in November of 2010.
This was my personal best time in a 5K, I have never run one faster than 21:59. When I ran it in 21:59 I was 38 years old and weighed 159 lbs. Since then I have been getting progressively slower often struggling to break 24 minutes in a 5K.
Today, I start the quest to once again break 22 minutes in a 5K by the end of the year.
I will update my quest as I go along. As I start this I will be turning 40 years old and currently weight in around 166 lbs so I have some work to do.
I am not sure I can reach this goal but it will be fun trying and I am bound to get fitter trying so it should be a win either way. I hope.
Yesterday I ran a 5K at the Magnuson race series in Seattle WA. I ran it in 23:34 so this will be used as my starting point and base line of the quest to shave at least 1:35 off my 5K time to get below 22 and set a new personal record.
At the Magnuson race I felt like I went out too fast and each mile got progressively slower. My first mile was ran in 7:18 and I kept slowing over the remaining two miles. I will need to pace myself better to reach my goal.
In order to reach my goal of breaking 22 minutes I will have to average a pace of 7 minute miles. I tend to run better running in a group or behind someone than on my own. In order to reach this goal I will need some luck in having other runners in the race running at an even 7 minute per mile pace. Sometimes this happens in races sometimes it doesn't. I often find myself running alone during 5K's in the middle part of the race which can't happen if I am going to break 22 minutes.
The Magnuson race itself is flat except for one very short hill near the start. The only draw back of this race is it has a lot of turns which tends to slow the pace. I may be able to reach my goal running the Magnuson 5K's which are held monthly but I may need to find a straighter course so shave off some time.
I will keep updating this weekly with my weekly work outs as well as any races I run. Hopefully before 12/31/2012 I will be posting that I ran a 5K under in under 22 minutes!
I ran 81 miles total in the month of March. Also tried incorporating some elliptical into workouts to try to lose some weight. I think my body has adapted to the routine runs that I do each week so running isn't likely to help more with weight loss at this point. Weight keeps fluctuating between 162 and 166 lbs. I am trying to watch what I eat but could be more disciplined. I think getting under 160 lbs will make running a 5K under 22 minutes more achievable.
Goal for April will be to run a 5K under 23 minutes and try and get the weight down to 162.
4/7/2012 Tulip 5 Miler
I ran the Skagit Valley Tulip 5 Miler this morning in 40 minutes. It was perfect weather, sunny and 50 degrees at the 9:30AM start. Unusual but welcome weather in the Pacific Northwest where rain is the norm. I actually got too hot after the first mile of the race and had to shed my wind jacket and tie it around my waist which made the final 4 miles a bit annoying with it flapping around.
My legs also felt crampy for some reason for most of the run. I paced well though, finding a group running a comfortable 8 minute pace to run with in a pack. For some reason I find running in a pack much easier than running on my own. A lot easier.
I don't know what if anything this race accomplished in terms of helping me break 22 minutes in a 5K. It is the longest run I have done in awhile though as I has almost exclusively been running only three milers in training. I did notice my endurance begin to ebb around mile 4 so that's probably something I should be focusing on improving.
My hope is that by running some 10K's and 5 milers at race pace I will build my endurance and be able to hold a 7 minute pace easier in a 5K which is what I need to do to reach my goal of sub 22 minutes.
An observation at this race as I was waiting for my girlfriend to come in at the end, people are way too competitive sometimes. Around 46 minutes a pack of 5 runners was nearing the finish and this girl in her late twenties literally shoved her way through the pack to cross the line in front of them almost causing one or two runners to fall. The incident caused some cursing and probably dampened the experience of the race right at the end for the poor runners rudely shoved aside.
Maybe she was trying to beat some time goal and was right on the cusp of her time? Either way I hope I never exhibit that kind of poor etiquette at the end of a race. I mean, I am sure there is a time and a place for cut throat competitiveness but it is not in the 9 minute per mile pace group. At least I don't think it should be. The Olympic trials maybe but not the 46 minute finish time at the Skagit Valley Tulip Run.
I am going to try and get some more long runs in over the next couple of weeks to try and get my endurance up. Weight is holding at about 165 Lbs. I am not feeling very motivated to do any kind of dieting to get down to 160 anytime soon. Maybe training at a higher weight will help. Hey it's like hill training all the time right?
4/22/12 WWU Earth Day 5K 23:45
This was a 5K run at the Western Washington University campus. It had a few hills but nothing too bad.
I ran the first mile right on pace at 7:04 but fell off after that to finish in 23:45.
Not too bad but breaking 22 sure seems a far way off.
I am weighing in at 166 so need to drop 6 lbs which should help. I also need to start doing more long runs. If I am to break 22 it's likely going to happen in half marathon season when I am putting in the miles.
I also need to start doing speed work. Running 3 miles a day just isn't cutting it in order to improve. I am stagnating at this point.
My legs felt tired from the get go today. I ran 6 miles yesterday which is the longest I've gone in awhile.
I should probably not run the day before a 5K next time and see if that helps my legs feel fresher.
5/19/2012 Arlington 5K 22:02
So close to breaking 22 minutes but not quite there yet. I even won my age group, 40-49!
It was a very small race so it's not exactly brag worthy but I will take a ribbon where I can get one.
It was a perfect course to run a good 5K time, an out and back slightly uphill going out and then slightly downhill back to the finish. The weather was also great, sunny in the 60's, no wind.
I hit the first mile in 6:35 which is way too fast for me. Settled into a more manageable pace after that.
I wish I had some kick left at the end of the race to pick up another couple of seconds but I was coming in on fumes just trying to hang on to the end. There was no kick to be had.
Still this was the best time I have run all year so I am still pleased with the result. I ran a couple of long runs since my last race, some 6 and 9 milers which I think helped improve my time today. I also dropped a few pounds down to 162 which can't hurt.
I plan on continuing with the long runs in training to keep up my endurance and also add some speed work at the track which I have not been doing.
My friend also pointed out today that I don't warm up before the race which may help me meet my goal. She suggested about a 20 minute warm up run prior to the start of the 5K to help improve my performance. As she is a cross country coach I am going to assume she knows what she is talking about and give it a try. It certainly makes sense that a warm up would be helpful.
So for my next race my plan on breaking 22 minutes includes, more long runs, some speed work, keeping my weight down and adding a warm up to my pre race routine.
I have to admit I have had some reservations about my ability to break 22 minutes but after today it certainly feels like it is an achievable goal if I keep training properly.
6/3/2012 San Juan Half Marathon
Ran the San Juan Half Marathon today. This is my third time running the San Juan Half and it's one of my favorite races.
The race takes place in Friday Harbor which is the San Juan Islands.
It makes for a fun weekend trip, going over by ferry on Saturday afternoon, staying overnight and coming back after the race on Sunday.
The San Juan Islands are one of the most scenic areas I have seen in Washington, or anywhere else for that matter.
The residents are very friendly and there are several excellent restaurants to choose from. There is also a small movie theater and a bowling alley for some entertainment the night before the race.
The race itself is scenic and very well run. They offer a full and half marathon and also a 10K.
The San Juan Half is quite hilly so not the best race to PR but it is still a very enjoyable running experience.
I didn't set any records this year but 13.1 miles is my longest run in months so should help in my goal of running a sub 22 5K this year.
6/23/2012 Tesoro March Point 5K 23:47
I think this is the best 5K I have run, experience wise not time wise. It was extremely well organized, cheap, $10 without a shirt and $10 extra for a long sleeve shirt if you wanted one.
They provided tons of drawing prizes and it seemed like half the people in the race got trophies, including my 13 old son who took 2nd in the 15 and under age group and my girlfriend who took first in the 30-39 age group.
I took 5th in the 40-49 group running a time of 23:47. Well off the pace of my goal time of 22 minutes but I felt pretty good during the race.
Having never run this race and not knowing the course I didn't really push for a good time. There were some slight hills on the course and I am pretty much resigned to having to run a very flat course if I am going to break 22 minutes.
This was a fun race all around though, with free hot dogs afterwards and even a live band performing at the finish.
I wish there were more family friendly and affordable races around like this one. It even had a start time of 10:15 which helps when you are trying to drag a teenager out of bed on a saturday morning.
My son, 13 , is in great shape with the lacrosse season recently ending. Normally I have to pace him to a 27 minute 5K but he ran this one on his own only about 10 seconds behind me for most of the race. It was a PR for him by quite a bit.
I plan on getting some weekly runs in with him and training him up. With youth on his side he will be beating me in no time. And selfishly, he may prove to be a good pacer for me in my goal to break the 22 minute mark.
There is a all comers track meet on Mondays that I am going to start going to. They hold a 5K the last Monday of each month. Running a 5K on a track my be my best bet for meeting my goal this year.
Next weekend there's a race on my home turf but that means it's going to be super hilly so I will be lucky to break 25 but it should be good training none the less.
6/30/12 Camano Island Crab Dash 10K 48:40
Ran in the Camano Island Crab Dash 10K this morning.
My time was 48:40. The course is very hilly so the time seemed fine.
I felt good during the race. I prefer running 10K's as I don't have to push as hard as I do in a 5K and its more comfortable. I suppose if I was trying to set a PR I would push more but I tend to use 10Ks as training runs.
I will be running another 10K on the 4th where I set my previous 10K record of 47:36 last year so if I am feeling well I may try and break that time next week.
I need to find a favorable and flat 5K course to try and get this 22 minute monkey off my back. The summer is probably my best bet of running a good 5K as I tend to train more during the good weather.
I have a couple of days off next week so may try and run some track work outs which I have not done in awhile to see if that helps me get in better shape.
7/4/12 Yankee Doodle Dash 10K 47
New PR for the 10K, the clock said 47 minutes exactly but it was chip timed so I should be a few seconds under 47 seconds once the official results are posted.
I started out the race fairly slow and was not concerned with running a fast time but I felt good after the first mile so started picking up the pace.
I have noticed the last several races that I have this nemesis. It's a guy that I think lives in the same town as I do and I see him at most of the local races I go to. I have edged him out in a 5K before but the last 10K he was clearly pacing off me and took off at the end beating me.
Today around mile 4 he showed up again and drafted behind me until mile 6 and then kicked the last 0.2. I was on fumes by then so couldn't out kick him but I think having him behind me the last two miles pushed me to a new PR.
Perhaps having him in a 5K will help me break the 22 minute mark.
Doing the Seattle Adventure run tomorrow evening and there is a 7 mile race in Saturday.
I should probably be running some more 5K's to give myself a chance to beat 22 minutes but I consider the 10K's good training and don't feel quite in shape enough to go sub 22 yet.
There is a race on August 4th on the same course I recently ran 22:02 so that will be my next target race.
Magnuson Park 5K 7/14/12 Time 22:25
I ran the Magnuson race again today in 22:25. The Magnuson race is a monthly 5K and I ran my initial race there in March in a time of 23:35.
So although I did not break 22 minutes today I did drop more than a minute off my time since March in this particular race. The Magnuson race has changed the course a bit since the March race and it's a little harder now with more turns and gravel. I didn't run well enough today to break 22 even on the old course but I probably would have been around 22:10 without all the curves.
The weather was humid today and my allergies were bad, neither of which boded well for me breaking my PR today.
Getting a 10K PR on July 4th boosted my confidence a bit and it was a little disappointing I was 25 seconds off my goal pace in today's 5K.
For a change, today I tried warming up by jogging a bit before the race and think I should definitely incorporate that routine into my future races. In the past I have just walked from the car to the start line and started running.
I plan on trying to get in some speed work on the track over the next few weeks to try and get over the hump of shaving the last 30 seconds off my 5K pace and squeaking in under 22 minutes before the summer ends.
Also I did not wear a watch today so just ran by feel. I think having the watch to see where I am pacing at each mile marker is going to be necessary for me in future races.
Kla Ha Ya Days 5 Miler 7/21/12 Time 44:30
I ran this weird 5 mile distance race with my 13 year old son. 5 miles is his longest run to date.
As it was his longest run and an untested distance we paced ourselves moderately to be sure he could finish. He ran well and will be surely be beating me in a 5K by the end of the summer as his youth will overcome my experience any race now.
I will be running a half marathon this weekend with a goal of under 2 hours. My best time in a half is 1:47 but I have not been training for half’s and have not run many lately so under 2 will be hard enough.
Hopefully, treating the half as a long tempo run will pay off in improving my 5K time by adding some endurance. I have really noticed a drop off in my last 5K races from mile 1 to mile 3. This is going to need to improve if I am going to run sub 22 by the end of the summer.
Anacortes Art Dash Half Marathon 1:55
I ran in the Anacortes Half Marathon today, one of my favorite races in the area.
It's a great race for several reasons, its fairly cheap at $45 for a race with a tech shirt and medal, it's not crowded, it's easy to get to and park, has a later start time at 9AM, is mostly flat and it's very organized.
My goal was just to make sure I can still run a half in under two hours. I walked a bit at many mile makers when I was above pace for 2 hours which is 9:09 minute miles. I picked up the pace at mile 9 and ran the rest out without walking.
I felt good during the race. Not sure if it will help me meet my 5K goal but it was worthwhile none the less as I enjoyed it.
I have been flirting with the idea of running another full marathon in September but I hate, hate, hate training for marathons due to the long runs.
I like the marathon itself, just not the training that goes along with it. Maybe I won't train and just use a run/walk method which I kind of enjoy anyway.
Next race will be a 5K mud run next weekend which I have never done before. Looks fun at least.
JBLM Mud Run
I did my first mud run yesterday with my son, 13.
It was on Joint Military Base Fort Lewis. As it was on a military base it's a slight hassle to get onto the base which seemed to have limited the participants, there were about 100 I would say in total.
This was good as we didn't have to wait in many lines to go through the mud pits. There were several other obstacles to climb over as well, tires and walls.
It was a good work out, more crawling and climbing than running but still a blast.
8/11/12 Festival Of The River 5K 24:30
This is a true cross country 5K race. The course is the used for cross country meets by both middle schools and Arlington high school.
The course is fairly flat but not fast. There is lots of uneven ground which makes running a fast time difficult.
Although I didn't run a great time I find cross country runs more fun than road races.
9/9/2012 Skagit Flats Half Marathon 1:55
I was planning on run/walking the full marathon but given my lack of training and the likelihood I would injure myself attempting it, I dropped down to the half.
This turned out to be a good decision, as although I felt good running I am much sorer than I have been in awhile after a half. If I had run a full I would be hobbling around for several days before being able to run at all.
This Wednesday is the last hill climb race of the year. I hope to break my record and get 10 hills. Although that will depend a lot on if this soreness subsides by then.
Next week is the Arlington Airport 5K. It's more of a cross country course so its unlikely I will be able to break 22 but I still think I can run a good time coming off of half. My endurance should hopefully be up.
Arlington Airport 10K 49:48
This 10K is a bit of a cross country run. A fellow came up next to me around mile 2 and we ran together the rest of the way. A nice guy , 61 years old and in much better shape than I am. Twice I told him to go ahead as I could tell he was faster than me. He said he was just taking it easy getting in a long run while training for a half marathon. It was nice running with someone during the race and it made the time pass easier.
It's impressive to me to see someone in their 60's so fit. I was just going to take it easy but keeping pace with him brought me in under 50 minutes so it ended up being a tempo workout for me.
There is a 5K coming up on 10/20/2012 which is on a course that is my best chance to run a good 5K time so I will try and focus on that race.
I have been riding a bike recently 10-12 miles too. I thought it might help my training a bit but I don't know really how it translates to running. At any rate its good to mix up workouts a bit and biking is definitely easier on the knees and legs than just running all the time.
Magnuson Park 5K 23:53
One of those days today.
Was running late and drove like a maniac trying to get to the race on time. Pulled into the parking lot just as the start gun was going off.
Ran and got my bib and took off, weaving in and out of walkers for the first mile. Ended up running the first mile in 7:01 but then started hitting a lot of traffic and not feeling it today so backed off my pace.
This race was slower than my initial base line run of 23:34 at this same race back in March. Starting late from the back cost me a bit of time but not that much.
I should have called this blog wishing to break 22 minutes instead of training to break 22 minutes as I have not been doing any kind of focused training.
There is a race coming up on October 20th which is the fastest course I have seen around here. So between now and then I will try and get in some speed work. I also need to drop about 5lbs. The extra weight is likely costing me 10-20 seconds in the 5K.
I witnessed two people vomiting at this race. One women as she crossed the finish line in the 5K and another guy in the last 200 yards of the 10K. The poor guy was on pace to run a 37 minute 10K and was on his hands and knees in the grass retching. He finally got up and slowly jogged into the finish.
That kind of dedication and willingness to suffer is just something I am not willing to endure. I get to the point of feeling uncomfortable in races but I am never on the bring of puking.
I supposed to run a really good time one must be willing to push themselves to that point.
I wonder what kind of time I could run if I was willing to run to the vomit thresh hold?
I will never know.
Arlington Runner's Club 5K 24:12
Times are getting slower, can't say I am surprised as I have really not been putting in much effort.
This is the fastest 5K course around where I live so I was hoping for a better time. It was pouring rain but I don't think that made much difference.
I think I was assuming if I simply ran enough 5K's I would have a good day and get a PR. It doesn't seem to work that way.
I used to do speed work the last couple of years at least once every two weeks and my guess is that's what really helps me in the 5K distance.
I still have a couple months left in the year to try and break 22 so will try and make a push and put in some more focused training.
Red Ribbon Week 5K 22:30
This was a free run in town for Drug Prevention Awareness week.
The course felt a bit short so am not confident the 22:30 is accurate. My legs were sore and I didn't feel like I was running fast enough for this time.
That said, lately I have been doing most of my runs on the treadmill as the weather has turned rainy. I think, as far as training goes, this is better for me. When running outside I tend to plod along not paying much attention to pace.
In contrast, on the treadmill I tend to get bored so mix things up a lot, changing paces, running hill intervals and even doing some speed work, all of which I think help to improve my 5K times.
I still have two months to try and get a PR by the end of the year so it will be interesting to see if treadmill running is actually a more productive training method for me than outside running. My guess and hope is that it will be.
Mount Vernon Turkey Trot 10K 49:20
Sunny and cool weather, great for running.
Set out to break 50 minutes to prepare for a half marathon I have coming up on Thanksgiving. I was running without a watch and my pace was a bit slow I think around mile 4. A couple of runners started to pass me so I picked up the pace and hooked onto them. It it hadn't been for them pushing me a bit I would have been over 50 minutes.
Legs felt good and I think the more structured treadmill workouts are helping. I have also been doing planks every day to try and improve my core strength which I really need.
My son is done with football so he will be able to start running some 5K's with me and the competition may help move push under 22.
11/17/2012 Seahawk Turkey Trot 25:16
I ran this 5K with my 14 year old son. He has not run a 5K since July so I paced him through the race.
This was a cross country type course with a killer hill so it wasn't a contender for a PR anyway.
Given the difficulty of the course and my son's lack of running lately I was pleasantly surprised with the time. It felt like we were going much slower.
11/22/12 Wattle Waddle Half Marathon 2:17
This was a half marathon run on Thanksgiving morning in Seattle, starting at Gas Works Park.
The race is run on the Burke Gillman Trail and winds through the University Of Washington.
This is a cheap, low key race put on by some Ultra Runner's in the area. While I only did this race, many of the participants were running it as the first of 4 half marathons. The idea is to complete 4 half marathons or marathons in four straight days, culminating at the final race on day 4 at the Seattle Marathon.
I ran this half marathon with my girlfriend and we used the run/walk method, running for 5 minutes and walking for 1 minute. This added about 20 minutes to my normal time but it enabled us to complete the half marathon comfortably with little training.
Stanwood Santa Dash 26:30
This was, I think, my worst performance in a 5K this year. The course had a hill somewhere around the second mile that red lined me and I actually had to walk for a bit at the top of the hill to catch my breath.
The last few weeks my average training run has dropped down from 3 miles to 2 miles per day which may have been the cause for the poor showing today.
I noticed, last weekend when I ran a couple of sprints with my son, a 100 meter and a 400 meter at the track, he blew me away on both. I think the reality is as I get older I am getting slower and a bit heavier weight wise. Based on this my 5K times seem to be heading in the wrong direction.
It seems unlikely given this performance I am going to reach my goal of breaking 22 minutes in 2012. I came very close in May, running a 22:02 but it's been downhill from there.
I am OK with this, I run to stay in shape and if my times are on an upward trend so be it. I enjoyed the year running and managed to stay healthy and uninjured throughout. I also discover through this challenge that I prefer longer races, 10K and up. I simply don't enjoy the uncomfortable feeling of trying to run fast 5K's.
In the coming year I will still run 5K's but more at a training pace. This year I tended to go out too fast the first mile, trying to hit a 7 minute per mile pace and simply didn't have the fitness to hold that pace for three miles. I actually think, like today, I would actually improve my time running a better paced race focusing on a 23 or 24 minute pace.
Well the year has run out and sadly I was unable to break 22 minutes in 2012. The closest I came was a 22:02 back in May so not too far off my goal.
As the year went on I started running a bit less and getting a bit slower.
I am glad I managed to run over 1,000 miles this year without getting injured and running is still an ingrained habit and an enjoyable part of my life.
Through this challenge I have come to the realization that 5K's aren't my race of choice. As I get older it's harder to maintain 5K pacing and I find it uncomfortable and not much fun. As I run for fitness and health I realize it is important for me to focus on race distances that I find enjoyable.
I like the more relaxed pace of longer races 10K and up.
For 2013 I still plan on running 5K's but more as training runs in the 23-24 minute time frame. My focus for this year will be to try and break my record in the 10K which is a 46:55 I ran last year in July.
Like this year's goal breaking my best 10K will be a stretch goal but like this year I hope to enjoy the challenge whether I hit the goal or not.
For me just remaining active and staying healthy is the real goal.
Running a 5K Turkey Trot tomorrow morning. I can't remember the last time I ran a 5K in a race. Lately I always check the 10K box as it seems like a better deal and more running is a better work out I figure. But tomorrow's race doesn't have a 10K option so it's an opportunity to see where my fitness is at. I am realistically shooting to break 23 but that may be a stretch. My weight has gone up a few pounds and I am not used to pushing the pain threshold that comes with running a strong 5K,
I have moved my workouts inside the gym with the cold dark days. Lately I have been doing some speed workouts on the treadmill so I am curious if maybe they will help my 5K time? Guess I will find out tomorrow, I will update my results.
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