Where and When:
Saturday or Sunday. 9 am Shelby Park outside the nature center.
(marathoners meet at 8:30)
5k time trial.
I’m glad that you asked. Most new runners (and even many experienced ones…) get to the starting line of a race and have no idea what to expect. Basically, they just start running without a plan, and hope for the best. This is especially true when you are attempting a new distance, a 1/2 marathon for example, and it is certainly not a good way to race. You need a plan when racing. Every distance is a little bit different, but for 1/2 marathon and marathons, that involves starting a little bit slower than your goal pace, running most of the race right on pace and speeding up as the race near the end. (I’ll blog more about this as the race gets closer.)
But how do you determine a realistic goal pace? Well, the only way to truly find out your 1/2 marathon potential is to run a 1/2 marathon. That is a bad idea. The next best way to evaluate your potential is to run a shorter race and extrapolate that result. So by running a 5k or 10k time trial, you can get a pretty good estimate of your half marathon potential. And that is what we are doing this week, running a 5k time trial.
Obviously, you cannot run a half-marathon at the same per mile pace as a 5k. So how much will you slow down? Let me introduce you to the McMillan Running Calculator. This is an amazing tool that allows you to input a recent race result, (or to make one up I guess) and it will estimate your race times for other distances. Not only that, it will determine your proper training paces based on your input.
So let’s try. Click on the above link and type in 26 minutes for a 5k and press calculate. You should see that it gives you estimated race outcomes of 7:29 for a one-mile race, 54:00 for a 10k, and (most important for us) 2:00:23 for a 1/2 marathon. (There are lots of others you can see by clicking on “show all” which is located on the right corner of the box below your results.) Clicking on the “training paces” in the upper left corner, you will see that you should run your long runs between 9:35 and 10:52, your tempo runs at 8:37 – 8:52 and you mile repeats at 8:08 to 8:25 pace.
So what is the bottom line? Running a 5k gives you great feedback on (1) your current 1/2 marathon potential and (2) the paces that you should be training at right now. That is why we are doing a time trial.
We still have 14 weeks of training ahead of us, and we will gain fitness. So if your 5k time trial this weekend is slower than it needs to be, don’t worry you will get faster. BUT…if your 5k time is WAY slower than it needs to be, you may need to rethink your time goal for the half…
We will not do any more time trials as a group, but I would encourage you to do a race sometime in March. A March race will give you a realistic goal time for CMM in April.
We will NOT be doing our time trial on the greenway this year. We will run a 5k loop around the ball fields and the lake (and up a hill…) that more accurately simulates the 1/2 marathon course.
See you this weekend!