Friday, November 04, 2005

Playing with speed work

Having run an easy and comfortable 10.1k yesterday evening with a timing of 60m50s, and being generally satisfied with the progress of my week’s mileage, I decided to try some speed work today.

Once again, referring to ‘The Competitive Runner’s Handbook’ by Bob Glover, he says that a tempo run is meant to be run at a pace which is 10 to 30 seconds per mile slower than 10k race pace. It is meant to improve lactate threshold and is run just below one’s lactate threshold (LT).

Now this did not really help me, because I do not really know what my 10k race pace should be. I am generally cowardly when it comes to discomfort and pain, thus I could safely say that my 10k race pace is way below what I am capable of. Bob Glover describes one’s 10k race pace as his or her goal race pace.

Considering that a tempo run is meant to be at a pace slower than one’s 10k race pace, this would make my tempo pace perhaps a 6min kilometer, since I was only hoping to achieve a sub 60min timing in my next 10k race. But that can’t be right, since running at that pace now seems to be a reasonably easy effort.

With all these confusing thoughts, I decided to try running as quickly as I could and judge my effort based on my breathing pattern. My first loop (1.13k) was a warm up with a timing of 6m44s. My target was to complete 5 loops that day, including the warm up.

In the next four loops, I started running at a controlled fast pace, while concentrating on my breathing pattern to ensure I was not running beyond my LT. I generally dislike timing myself on each lap as I find it distracting, so I just ran until I completed the four loops before registering a final timing of 29m04s for the 5.6k distance.

Throughout the run, my breathing was heavy but controlled. Bob says at a tempo pace, we should be able to talk but not in full sentences. At the same time we should not be gasping for air. I felt that describes my breathing form to the dot today.

If I take an average of the time I ran today and apply it to a distance of 5k, my time would have been 25m57s. And this pace was meant to be slower than my 10k race pace? Does this mean that in a 10k race, I should be running my heart out and endure all the pain and discomfort that comes with it? Perhaps I need to relearn the meanings and difference of the words ‘racing’ and ‘training’.

Tomorrow shall be a rest day before another long run of 15k on Sunday. This Sunday we plan to take a different route which leads to Shah Alam. I have finally decided to go for the PACM practice run on 13th Nov (20k). I was initially undecided as it is just one week before the KRI race, and my longest run ever has only been 15k, but I feel it would be a good practice run and plan to take it slow and easy.