On Saturday I am running my first race all year: a 5k (3.1 miles). Admittedly, this is a distance I have in the past sometimes overlooked (I did this with 10ks as well, which got me in trouble the last time I ran one). Fortunately, my last 5k went very well, despite being injured and about to bow out of doing CIM.
If you are an active and consistent runner, I don’t personally think you have to plan much for a 5k. It is generally enough to just go and do it, as long as you are feeling good. I am seeing the benefits of a consistent and gradual rebuilding of my running program. I have run over eighty miles this month, the most I have done in five months. I am running twenty miles a week. I am also in a positive headspace focused on well-being and enjoying myself.
I expect to run well on Saturday, but I plan to keep the big picture in mind. I am far from trying to run a fast 5k. My fastest 5k time, in November 2021, was under 23 minutes (22:34 to be exact), a 7:13 pace. Last Thanksgiving I ran 5k in 24 1/2 minutes, a 7:48 pace. Saturday I’m looking at maybe a 27 or 28 minute finish, somewhere between a 8:40 to 9:00 pace. This is faster than I have run all year (I have been going in the 9:30-10:00 range, but this includes walking breaks, which I do not plan to do on Saturday).
I figure it is reasonable to want to run faster for Saturday’s event than I have been going, as long as I stay tuned in with myself.
Here’s is the basic plan for the run:
- Do a mile warmup beforehand.
- Start the race somewhat conservatively. At the starting line, hang toward the back of the pack. DO NOT run with the leaders. Pace to start with: 9 minute miles or slightly slower.
- Speed up a bit the second mile. Pace to aim for: 8:30-8:59.
- Book it the final mile. Pace to aim for: 8:30 or faster.
- Most of all, check in with myself throughout, stay present, and HAVE FUN!
If I’m feeling it, it is possible I’ll start running fast before the final mile. But I am reminding myself that this not the race to go for a PR, or even to race. This is about having a good time. I have been in recovery for five months now and am not likely to forget that recovery comes first. There will be other times for racing.
But I still plan to have fun 🙂