This year's racing experience has been a mystery. After a decent start in February, my performance has really tailed off. I'm not sure if it has to do with my change to a less structured schedule this year or less intensity in terms of training. Whatever the reason, I haven't been satisfied with my results. November has always been my best month for achieving personal bests, but that's not been the case this year.
The Hot Chocolate 5K happens next week and I've hoped that the two 10K's I've done in November have put me in racing form. I debated whether to go to the track today to run intervals or do a threshold run. I decided a run in the neighborhood would more closely duplicate race conditions.
It was another cold morning with mid-20's temperatures. I was chilly at the start, because I wore fewer layers. If I was going for speed, I didn't want anything inhibiting my progress. I took off fast up the road, looking to get into high gear quickly. The street has a slight incline that gives way to an equally slight downward slope. I knew I was moving faster than I do on a normal training run and my Garmin shows I covered my first mile in 8:25.
I didn't have a set distance for this threshold run. It was more about running a short (but not too short) loop with some urgency. I lost some speed on the second mile, but came back fairly strongly by the end of the run. I wasn't paying attention to my distance, but after I'd stopped I saw that I'd covered three miles at 8:46. Not too bad considering my HR only averaged 85% of max.
A year ago I might have done that run 25 seconds per mile faster, but I won't complain about today's performance. I slightly regret not monitoring my Garmin and completing the full 5K distance. I doubt the numbers would have been much different. If I can hold my pace below 9:00 next Saturday, I'll consider it a successful effort. I'm hoping I'll do better than that and certainly no worse.