On Tuesday I got my latest training tool for my quest to hit a 24-minute 5k: my Garmin Forerunner 15. Because UPS decided to drop it off late in the evening (after volleyball) I didn’t get a chance to break it out on a run until today.
After one run I love this watch. Not only does it track my time but it also shows me time elapsed and distance. I think it will also tell me pace; I haven’t even gotten that far with it. Once I sync it I can see my path visually along with an elevation and a pace chart underneath that I can hover over to see where spikes/dips happened (e.g., when I tweaked my back mid-run I could see the pace drop off; I hovered over that area of the chart and it showed me exactly where on the map I was).
I don’t know if it was the adrenaline of a new tool or what, but my pace was much better this time. In fact I hit a new training best – an average 9:36 mile. And considering 2 1/2 minutes of that mid-run was walking because I pulled something in my back (imagine a vice around your entire upper torso – from your lungs to your back) that’s pretty damn good in my book.
Still nowhere near the 8:00 pace I’m after for September, but worlds better than my 11-minute pace in times past.
I’m alternating my 3 runs per week in an attempt to improve my performance. My early week run is a “speed” run – I push my pace up for the first 1.75 – 2.0 miles (depending on the course I run) and then walk/jog the rest of the way. That helps me focus on getting my speed up. This week that run netted me a sub-9-minute mile pace over 1.9 miles.
My late week run is a traditional 5k(ish) length. I have a number of options around the neighborhood that net me between 3.2 and 3.3 miles – slightly longer than a 5k but close enough. I run those to see how I’d fare on a real 5k. Most of my courses are fairly hilly so I don’t know that it’s an exact proxy, but it’s close enough.
My weekend run is my distance run – somewhere north of 5 miles (depends on the route I run). I try to split those runs into two distinct sections – the first being ~3-3.5 miles and the second being the total course. That still give me tracking of a 5k-ish distance but lets me push myself to improve my performance over longer distances.