Reality Check 5K – Saturday – June 12, 2021

Today’s Running Focus

Run smart

Planned Workout Description: 

Workout:

Your goal today is a 5k time trial. Don’t be spooked by the name. This serves as a test of your best effort today over 5 kilometers. To perform your best, our recommendation is as follows:

  • 5:00 warm up very easy
  • 3:00 moderate
  • 2:00 very easy
  • 5k time trial

Your target pacing strategy for the 5km is referenced in the video from yesterday:

  • 1km slightly lower than goal power
  • 3km working up to goal power
  • 1km finishing slightly higher than goal power
  • 10:00 cool down very easy

Purpose:

Test efforts during a training plan are instrumental to maintaining your fitness and understanding of your current ability as you progress day after day. You should always aim to give your best effort for these test efforts and not be discouraged if you don’t always reach your personal best time.

Where does this run/workout fit into my top 5 running priorities?

  1. Be healthy and run relatively discomfort-free – Find training plans that work for me, use prehab and rehab routines to run healthy, and pay attention to what the body is attempting to tell me. Avoid the too much, too soon, too fast mentality.
  2. Have fun with my running – running isn’t easy, but I want to enjoy it, not have it be another source of stress.
  3. Geek out on running stuff. I love learning and trying new things (experiment to see what works and doesn’t work) – Running shoes, Stryd Ecosystems, tech, training methods, etc. Even if I am not writing reviews, I still love this part of the running experience.
  4. Camaraderie – Enjoy the company of other runners, I run alone most of the time, so this is a treat when it happens.
  5. Competition – Yes, racing and seeing how I compare to other runners and the runner I used to be.

A combination of numbers: 1, 3, and 5 from the above list. Today is about establishing a 5K baseline that will allow me to see where I am and finish setting my Stryd Critical Power number for my current fitness levels. Not where I used to be or where I want to be, but where I really am. It will also serve to see how the Achilles holds up for a more challenging workout. A time trial can be complex, but it is not the same as a race. 

I will probably go into Waterville and use the loop around the Alfond Youth Center to do the time trial. That way, if something isn’t right, I don’t have to walk miles to get back to the truck. I am still very meechy when running faster and need to build my confidence back up that the Achilles will do what I want and not become a problem again.

There is an in-person 5K race up in Skowhegan at the High School this morning, and I was tempted to use that as my 5K time trial, but with the COVID rates in Somerset County being the highest in the State (which are still low), I figure that a solo time trial was a better choice.

Morning Prehab

  • 2 x 15 Straight Leg Eccentric Calf Drops each leg on the ladder
  • 2 x 15 Bent Leg Eccentric Calf Drops each leg on the ladder
  • 30 – Calf Raises both legs on the ladder
  • 10 – single leg calf raises no support on the floor
  • 20 x steps hip extensions

Run #1

Warm-up: 

  • 20 leg swing routine (front, side, forward and back rotations) 
  • Course: Colby Track
  • Type: 
  • Time Trial
  • Critical Power Test
  • Primary Surface: Track
  • Distance: 5.22
  • Duration: 47:29
  • Pace: 9:06
  • Power: 216

What I Actually Did Today: 

Did that workout go as planned?

I didn’t get to run where I planned. There were just too many people down around AYC this morning, youth soccer, people just getting out and about, doing pretty normal things, and I don’t think I saw a mask anywhere. So, things are getting back to normal, which great to see. However, I don’t feel comfortable around that many people yet and decided to go back to the Colby Track, where there were only two people when I drove by. My choice, and I am going to keep looking at things this way for a bit longer. I will probably start to relax a lot more if everything continues to go well and we don’t get a massive spike after the 4th of July. Yes, I am being very conservative about returning to a pre-COVID lifestyle.

I haven’t done a 5K time trial on the track in forever and prefer not to, but I figured that it would give me the best idea of where I really am with my conditioning. I did forget my earbuds, which meant no music on the track. I prefer track workouts with music, but I wasn’t going to annoy others with my playlist, so I got to listen to my footsteps instead.

I wanted to maintain around a 240 Power number for the time trial.

  • 5:00 warm-up very easy (211) – Went precisely as planned, no issues with the warm-up, and I felt pretty darn good.
  • 3:00 moderate (247) – I cranked it up to the 240s, which was dumb. I screwed up here and should have been running in the 230 range, according to Stryd. I was feeling good and thought nothing of it. I should have. This was the pace of a sub 8:00 that I thought would be great for the 5K.
  • 2:00 very easy (209) – I felt good and relaxed, ready to do it.

5k time trial (225) – 27:17 for a time. Nowhere close to my expected Power numbers and the slowest time I have run a time trial or race for a 5K in 15-20 years. I believed that I was in or at least close to sub-8:00 shape – I am not.

This was a reality check that I needed.

It will require me to focus on things I need to improve and, more importantly, look at goals that I have set that are not based on reality but on memories of who I used to be, not who I am now. Yeah, reality sucks, then smack you upside the head, and then you get back to what needs to be done and do it. I am almost 64 and felt my age today.

I started off fine, but about halfway through the first lap, it was almost like a balloon got a pinhole leak, and I could feel the pace just ssssllllllooooowwwwwiiiiinnnngggggg down. I would attempt to push the pace back up, but it kept getting slower and slower.

On lap 6, I blew a snot rocket, and it was all bloody and dripped out of the nose for a couple steps. Not good. I wasn’t feeling great, but no headaches, cramps, or other issues beyond a tighter than I wanted Achilles. I have had those exertion nosebleeds in the past, and it just means that I have to slow up a little more. So, I did.

After that episode, it was just a matter of how slow the time was going to be, not if I was going to step into lane 5 and walk.

I finished the 5K time trial, and while it wasn’t anything to write home about, it gives me a baseline to work with. While I might have taken 20 seconds a mile off the time due to being around other runners in a race, the results are what they are for this time trial. 

Still, between the sun beating on my head, me worrying about getting my shirt all bloody, and the Achilles complaining a bit about how tight it was getting (not discomfort or pain, just tightness), the time was better than I thought it was going to end up.

Now I have a choice:

  • Give up because the time was so crappy and forget about faster times. Just start running for the fun of it.
  • Use this time as motivation to get my arse in gear to do the hard work necessary to get it back to where I know it can be.

I will use it as motivation to get to work and do better next time.

However, it does give me quite a reality check about what my actual conditioning is right now, and it ain’t pretty.

  • 10:00 Cool down (186) – I ran nice and slow for the cool down. This is probably about the pace I should be doing recovery runs, but I am too stoopid to go this slow. Although I did the last 200m a bit quicker, which helped me feel a little better about the workout than slowly slogging it to the finish would have.

Yes, I was frustrated by my performance this morning, and maybe that is a good thing that will be the kick in the butt that I need to get back to do all the work I need to do to start improving again.

Lessons Learned:

Track time trials are tedious and more challenging on a track. I love going to the track for Intervals or hard repeats but hate going beyond a mile at a time on a track. That 2nd and 3rd mile sucked bad. This time trial on the track gave me more respect for those runners who compete in 5Kor 10K…hell, anything over 1500 or a mile on the track.

I am still meechy about pushing too hard with the Achilles, it still gets tight, and if I push it, the grumbling starts, not what I want. It still is not ready for prime time.

When doing track work, I have to remember to use music to help me maintain cadence err sanity.

The Magic Speeds are probably not my best bet for a fast (for me) run. I will have to go back to the drawing board. 

Variables that impacted the run: 

Injuries/Niggles:

Weather: Clear sky, 66°F, Feels like 67°F, Humidity 77%, Wind 3mph from SW. It felt a helluva lot warmer up at Colby in the sun without any shade.

Shoes: ASICS Magic Speed – Disappointing is how I would use to describe their performance during the time trial. They were comfortable, but either I wasn’t getting into the carbon plate, or the shoes were just meh for my faster paces. Really, I think I would have run better if I had used the 1080v10s. The Magic Speeds feel more like daily trainers than they do go faster shoes, and that is how I will use them in the future or until I use them more, and they simply wow me with how I run in them on longer runs.

Other Stuff

I came so close to buying a pair of Carbon X on eBay this afternoon, but at the last second, I decided not to. When I thought about it, they really are not all that different than my Magic Speeds and are more a trainer than a race in the experience that I had in them a couple of years ago. I don’t need another trainer; I need a pair of shoes with some pop, and I feel confident when running faster.

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