Sunday, 29 November 2015

Running a faster 5K: 1

O.K., my goal is to run a faster 5k.

Specifically, I want to run a sub-20 minute 5k parkrun.

Now, realistically, this is unlikely.

My local parkrun is hilly. My best time there is 20:43. This year, my best time was 21:39. And this was prior to my lung problems.

But this is my goal.


I had a good week of training:

Mon.: run 5.6 miles
Tues.: no running (but a 3 mile walk in the evening)
Weds.: run 1 mile + 4 x 1000m intervals on the track (speed workout)
Thurs.: swim 1300m; run 2 mile race (+ 0.5 mile warm-up and cool down)
Fri.: no running
Sat.: run 5.8 miles (parkrun + warm-up and cool-down)
Sun.: run 7.1 miles (hilly)

With a goal of running a faster 5k, I want to have some speed work, and generally increase my training volume. So my equation for a faster 5k is the following:
consistent running + some speedwork + good volume = a faster 5k

I'm not going to break 20 mins., but I'm hoping to get faster.

I also recognize that a given week's training will not be reflected in that week's 5k parkrun time.

Nonetheless, over the next few weeks, I hope the times will come down.


This week's 5K parkrun was an inauspicous start to my efforts to run a sub-20 minute 5k.

It has been 10 weeks since my last spell of lung problems.

These 10 weeks have been interrupted by travel, but I have been running when possible. So I was hoping for an improved time.

Unfortunately, the day dawned rainy, cold and windy. I tried to maintain an even pace, but felt a bit winded. I'd eaten a light breakfast before the race, but could feel it a bit in my stomach. Also, because it was cold, I was wearing long running trousers. Somehow, I had not tied the drawstring and these felt like they were sliding down during the race. It was a distraction. Eventually, on the "hearbreak hill" portion of the route, I tied the drawstings.

I crossed the line in 22:01. I was 24th out of 129 participants, my highest placing of the year.

However, I'd felt good during the run. With better conditions, this perhaps could have been in a 21 minute something 5K.


In part one of the reasons I think a sub-20 minute 5k is a stretch is my speed workout this past Weds. On the track, trying to run hard, my 1k intervals were 4:06, 4:09; 4:11, and 4:07. These were intervals with a 2 minute rest between each one.

To run a sub-20 minute 5k, I need sub-4:00 minute kilometers the whole way.


Earlier in the week, on my walk with young friends, the ruins of our local palace were illuminated.

Sunday, 22 November 2015

Feeling good

This was my week:

Mon.: run 5.8 miles
Tues.: swim 800m
Weds.: run 4.4 miles
Thurs.: run 5 miles (hill)
Fri.: nothing
Sat.: run 5 miles (cross-country race)
Sun.: swim 1600m

My lungs continue to be good, and with the opportunity to run consistently, I am starting to feel fit. I want to run more.

My short-term goal is to work on my parkrun time. I want to see what I can do to it with some focus.


On my drive home from the pool today, with a haunting Vaughn Williams piece on the radio and the winter sun, I felt unaccountably good.

Friday, 13 November 2015

November rain

I've had another good week in terms of regaining fitness:

Mon.: swim 1200m
Tues.: run 4 miles
Weds.: run 5.6 miles
Thurs.: run 3.5 miles (8 x hill reps with club)
Fri.: swim 1600m (back to a mile!)
Sat.: run 3.5 (parkrun)
Sun.: run 4.4 miles


I'd like to start whittling away at my parkrun (5k) time. This week I was at 21:48. This isn't my worst time, as I ran slower times immediately after my lung problems, but it is a bit away from my best time of 20:43.

I wonder, if I focussed on this, whether I could break 20 minutes.


The fall weather pattern has set in for Scotland. This week there was rain and more rain.

On my deck, puddles formed.

Sunday, 1 November 2015

Back in the hills

This was another good week, lung-wise:

Mon.: hill walk with son (~ 4 miles)
Tues.: run 4 miles in a.m.
Weds.: swim 1000m; run 3.1 miles (hill loop)
Thurs: run 4 miles (2 of which were club handicap race)
Fri.: nothing
Sat.: run 3.3 mile hill race
Sun.: nothing


I did my first race since July on Saturday. It was short, but featured a lot of elevation, and today, Sunday, my upper legs are sore. Breathing-wise I was fine, and I felt good running running in the wind and rain. This was encouraging, and I'm hoping to increase my weekly miles now.


Of course, most of those miles now, and for the next few months, will be run in the dark.