I'm always thinking about running but it's even worse heading into a race. Going into a race, my obsession reaches heights known only to the crazy (aka other runners). A few weeks (yes WEEKS) before every race, my obsession begins to ramp up. What will I wear/eat/do/pace/eat for every mile of my run. (LOL Don't you love that eat is on there twice subconsciously?? Leaving it! I mean I do need to think about pre- and mid-race food!) I go back and forth on my expected pace and what I believe I can do. I've still only raced at two distances, 5K (3.1 miles) and 10K (6.2 miles), despite training for a half-marathon (13.1 miles). My last 5K was so long ago that I definitely need a tune-up.
Saturday I was running with some faster ladies in my group, chatting away with my pace notification intentionally off so I could test my speed (I use the Runkeeper app on my phone) but keeping an ear out for overall time at each mile marker. I was sooo excited that we were averaging under a 9:40/mile pace for the first 3 miles. HOW COOL IS THAT?!! Especially considering how conservatively we went out! We won't talk about how painful the last 3.6 miles were as a result (well just a little... I had to talk myself out of walking for a good mile and a half... it didn't help that the woods had my app off by ALMOST AN ENTIRE MILE!!! 0.9 miles off is HORRID!!) but that means I definitely want to shoot for a 30-minute 5K the next time I run one.
Pacing for a 10K is notoriously tricky because it's a longer distance so you don't want to go out TOO fast and burn out before the end, but it's short enough (compared to a half-marathon or marathon) that if you go out super slow, you can't make up that time. I know this under-pacing too well from my first 10K. I'm always afraid of going out too fast and not having anything left at the end. In that race, I had WAY too much left at the end. Since I was aiming for a half-marathon (that didn't happen), I've been running way over 6.2 and haven't actually practiced at 10K.
Pretty much everyone agrees that running over distance (longer than the length of your goal race) makes you faster at that distance so I have that working for me. But not practicing 6.2 has still made me a little uneasy. Nevertheless, I've set my goals -- a) PR i.e. faster than 1:13:46, b) faster than 1:11:00, c) faster than 1:09. Because I haven't run 6 miles much in the last few months, I have no idea if I'm aiming too low. I have a feeling I might be but only time will tell.
After feeling pretty proud of my pacing and strategy for my 2nd 10K, I know I absolutely MUST have a plan for where I want to be at each mile. I've played with a few different ideas for this race but my final strategy? I STILL DON'T KNOW!! The one I'm most leaning toward is to go out a little fast but not at top pace to use the first mile as a warm-up of sorts, then kick it up for mile 2 OR 3, go all out from 2 or 3 on and try to hold on to my fastest possible pace. I want to KNOW I left it all on the pavement. What do I have to lose? I'm confident that my training has prepared me to PR. If I botch this race, it will be another thing I learned from. But the plan is to conquer!
Do you see all of the stuff running through my head??? No wonder I sleep horribly before races! I don't know if any more than 3 people who read this cared about this post but if you read it, I thank you anyway! :)