Lately I’ve had this notion in my head that I can run an 18 minute 5k and a sub-40 minute 10k. I think the latter is possible, but the former I’m uncertain. Working on a speed is much more difficult in some aspects than distance. With distance training there’s a lot of certainty that with enough training and the proper race day strategy you can complete the distance. If you’re not worried about distance and speed than the game is much more mental than physical. Speed over short distances is a different game. It’s difficult for different reasons. The more trying part is convincing yourself not to slow down. I always say that in a 50k race at least the first half is fun. With a 5k speed test there’s hardly any of the actual race that I would consider ‘enjoyable’. For me it’s difficult pushing your legs and lungs to go that fast, but the result is rewarding.
Today at my running class we did 2x1600m. It went fairly well as I completed the first in 5:45 and the second in 5:39. This was sub 18 minute pace, but I definitely wasn’t feeling it was sustainable for 5k. The other day on the treadmill I tried running at 6 min/mile pace (~18 min 5k) but quit at 2 miles (12 minutes) because my lungs just couldn’t take it (and I was worried about falling off). It may seem trivial to try to lower my 5k by a minute or two, but it’s a fun goal and challenge so why not? I think it’ll make me a better runner and it’s always a great confidence booster in longer races to know you have that speed in the tank.
With all this speed work one thing is certain about running – there are no shortcuts. If you see anyone busting out a sub 20 minute 5k or sub 40 minute 10k you know they’ve put some work into it.