5k Revolution

Recently, my Oiselle teammate, Meggie, has been all about the 5k revolution. Now, I am, too.

There are a lot of things I love about the marathon and its training: the post-long run nausea (no, not being sarcastic), the insatiable hunger, the little bit of clout the distance carries, the feeling of accomplishment when I look at my running log and see weekly totals in the 60s, and, finally, I know deep down that the marathon is probably my best event. I’m willing to be in a moderate amount of pain for a long, long time and I don’t think I’ve ever run a 200 under 36 seconds–and that includes the time I ran the 4×4 at the state meet.

After my Providence Marathon-turned Half Marathon training cycle, and then disappointing race in the half, I’ve been romanticizing the 5k. I don’t know if I’ll ever be able to beat my college 10k PR (38:41) again, but I do think I could take down my 5k PR, or at least my 5k road PR (19:21, since I’m pretty sure that time I ran 18:42 the course was short).

I’m going to be coaching (and teaching) at my own high school this fall. I’ll get to coach with my high school coach and two former teammates of mine. I’ll get to run with the girls, one of whom sprinted past me at the end of a 5 miler a few weeks back, and I’ll be doing a lot more 800 meter repeats than 10 mile progression runs. Nick just started running and has done two 5ks recently. I’m at a place where the time and energy that goes into training for a solid 5k fits a lot more smoothly into my running life, and my real life, than the emotional and physical demands of solid marathon training.

One of my favorite ways to procrastinate is to “research” (anything, really: recipes, races, books, other writers, the weather, rare diseases, gardening techniques, the current lives of people I went to high school with and would pretend not to recognize if I saw on the street…), and today I researched some 5ks.

First, really terrifyingly thrillingly, New York Road Runners has a summer track meet series for old people like me. There are a few local evening 5ks, and a series of evening cross country races just one town over. These are both on Tuesday nights, which fits in nicely with the idealized image I have of summer as a time when teacher bedtimes no longer apply and I can do wild things like run a race on a weeknight!

It’s been awhile since I took a serious stab at short distance racing, and I know that once the new school year gets going, I’ll both have more intensity in my interval training (even most slow high school kids have leg speed in a way I don’t think I ever did–even when I ran the 3200 and the 4×8!) and less time and energy to devote to “my own” running, so I don’t want to pin any major goals on fall training.

June-August: 1 speed workout (200s-400s type speed), 1 tempo or fartlek session, and one long run (probably just 10 miles) a week, 40-50 MPW with races replacing either speed and/or tempo sessions.

August-November: see what training teaching/coaching/life can accomodate and build up to some longer weekend running once the weather cools off

Up next:

June 17: Branford Road Race 5 Miler (a father’s day tradition)

June 23: Fairfield Road Races 5k

July 4: Four on the Fourth

July 15: See Jane Run 1/2 Marathon

July 21: TBD End-of-road trip 5k (either San Diego or San Francisco-suggestions?)

July 27: Trumbull Sunset Run 5k

August 3: Southwest Cafe Margarita 5k or August 4: Walnut Beach Ice Cream 5k or August 4: Sea Legs Shuffle 10 Miler depending on if I’d rather have a margarita or ice cream (or both) and if I need a break from 5k

And then? There are big (New Haven 20k) and small (local 10 miler) Labor Day races, I’ve been throwing around the idea of running the Fifth Avenue Mile and going out to visit my little brother in Minneapolis if I get in the lottery for the Twin Cities 10 Miler. And then, when the weather cools, and I’m a little settled into my new job, I’d like to get some redemption for that last half. And I have this weird gut feeling that I’d do it better on lower mileage and more speed. So the plan for now is to do the Half Marathon in Philadelphia at the end of November. None of this, of course, will get in the way of my inappropriately competitive approach to our local Turkey Trot (my high school coach working the finish line, old school rivals plus years of kids I’ve coached in the race, fancy spandex wearing men I see on the trail… so many egos [including my own, of course] to contend with!)

I have a runner friend who wants to start an Angie’s List of road races–reviews, plusses, minuses, cost comparisons, accuracy of courses, etc. for local races. Until her brilliant idea is off the ground, I’m relying on internet running friends’ responses: thoughts on any of the races above? On racing that frequently? Is three ten-milers between August-October too many?