Yearly 5K Shows Still Long Road Ahead

Yearly, I run the Party with a Purpose Hoboken 5K. It’s an easy, fun run in my town and a benchmark for my current physical shape. This year, I noticed two things in this run: Although I ran it more effortlessly than usual; my time barely budget – it went UP!

What is going on!?

In previous years, I suffered through this race, sore from running a five miler three days earlier – a distance I would only run once a year at that particular race, in July. Normally I cramp up, walk, feel like my legs are rubber. Two years ago, a piercing cramp hit my side, forcing me to limp in pain for a stretch.

Last year my time was 28:12. In 2008, 27:05.

This year? 28:30. Basically, two years ago, when I only ran 3 miles as a normal workout, I had a full minute and a half better time than this year – when I am logging long runs on a consistent basis.

I thought 3.2 miles would fly by unnoticed, and that maybe, I could even sprint it out at a 7.5 minute pace. Looks like I need some sprints training.

My time isn’t terrible, but it is disappointing. If I can’t dominate a 5K, how am I ever going to run 4 back-to-back 5K’s and then some, which is essentially what 13 miles will feel like!

On the positive side, physically, I felt great. I experienced no pain, felt strong and ran well the entire race.

The problem was in my breathing. I notice this every time I try to run consistency for a period of time – my breathing gets to the point where I am completely short of breath and can’t get enough air in. My strategy has always been to walk until my heart rate calms down and then run again. This is why I average 9 or 10 minute miles – but now that I’m trying to push myself, it feels like my heart is going to explode if I don’t slow down to get some deep breathes in. This is a major problem that, when running long distance, will kill my time. If I can fix my breathing issues – I know I will be able to make the 13 miles!

With two months to go, new training goals:

1. Learn how to breathe, even when I pick up the pace
2. Start running sprints
3. Just pick up the pace!

This race was great, as it gives me a roadmap of what to work on. I’m getting a little nervous now that the big day is looming closer, but by sticking to my training schedule, I know I can get there. As I’ve said from the start, just crossing the finish line is reward enough, even if I do end up walking a chunk of the half!

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About the13thmile

I am proud to now say I am a half-marathon runner! Three half-marathons qualify for that status, I think. I blog about about running, nutrition and sometimes some other stuff. I share my research, tips and experiences with you, and am inspired by the supportive running community! I enjoy connecting with other runners, and hearing about other people's running experiences. Feel free to reach out if you have ran marathons or half marathons in the past!
This entry was posted in 5K, Breathing, Running, Training and tagged . Bookmark the permalink.

2 Responses to Yearly 5K Shows Still Long Road Ahead

  1. Dave says:

    I enjoy reading your posts. I too have been at the same question of how to run and breathe better. It sounds backwards, but I was taught to slow down. It actually worked. I use the ‘talk test’. During my training, if I can talk while I am running, I am at the right pace. If I can’t talk, I am going too fast. If I can sing, I am going too slow. It costs a lot in pace early on, but it pays big dividends as you increase mileage. Keep on running, and writing!

    • the13thmile says:

      Thanks so much, Dave. Really appreciate the advice – slowing down is something to try. The next thing to figure out is how to increase speed slowly! Constant challenges ahead! Thanks for reading!

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