Ever since I completed my first full marathon back in January I’ve been struggling with building my speed. As of late, it seemed that no matter how hard I tried I could barely break an 11:00 minute pace for my 5K distances. If I could get sub 11 minutes for my 3-4 mile runs, it was a good day.
I’m not a fast runner (hello, I’m a Slow Mo Mother Runner!), but back in November before my mileage was crazy high, I ran my best 5k at a 10:10 pace. I also ran a 10k with a sub 11:00 pace. Both of these have been tough paces to obtain again. That was until this past weekend! I finally hit a 10:10 pace again!
I was thrilled with my run! I wasn’t expecting much when I stepped out the door that morning. In fact, my run started off crappy because Pandora wasn’t working and I ended up running without any music. I was worried that it might slow me down, but there was something nice about a trail run without the distraction of rhythmic beats in my ears.
I listened to my breathing, watched my HR, and went with the flow. Mile 2 was a bit trying, but once I turned around at 1.7 miles I knew I was over halfway finished and I knew I had room to push myself because I was nowhere near my max HR. So I kept an eye on my Polar FT40 and told myself I would build my HR at 1/4 mile increments. It worked! I build my speed back up and finished off strong. It was a pretty awesome feeling to hit that mark again.
For the month of May, post relay race, I had been working on building my speed. I incorporated hills, fartleks, and built my mileage for a couple of runs. I’ve also listened to my HR and have been working on what points during a run to really push myself. Ideally, I’ve found that staying at 160 for the first half of my run and then building things up and pushing hard towards the latter half works best. I do max out around 185-190 and can’t really push myself for too long at that HR, but I find it’s my sprint rate and it works for that last short final push.
I even went out yesterday on National Running Day and put in a decent 5K with a 10:37 split. I’m still trying to master the negative split because mine still look like uneven pyramids. I am getting stronger and can feel myself getting faster.
These next couple of months I am reading up and playing around with a few things to see where it takes me. One other thing that I have been trying to master is my stride. I’m so used to a heavy legged short stride and would really love to get away from that for my shorter runs. Based on my current research it seems that a lot of small changes can mean a world of difference with pace. My goal before the end of the summer is to get sub 10:00 min pace for a 5K distance. I would love to see a 9:00 too!
What are your pace goals? What are you doing to get faster? How are you building your speed?