Well, this happened. What’s this, you ask? Only a nearly two minute PR from my last parkrun, three weeks ago. What happened, you may ask?
I mean, a lot of things happened, so let’s unpack it all.
First, I’ve just been running more. More volume to to have a steady mileage foundation for the Portland (half) Marathon in October. It’s like 9 weeks away. Nine weeks is October! Auuuggghhh.
And these runs have a lot of variety to them. Mainly base runs for mileage, but some speed work, threshold work, and long runs thrown in there as well. All good stuff.
Second, I bought new shoes. I have three new pairs of running shoes, specifically, all Saucony: The Ride 16 as a daily trainer, the Triumph 20 for my long runs, and the Kinvara 14 for speed work and races. So I wore the Kinvara 14s to parkrun. And they worked pretty dang well if I do say so myself. They are about 3oz lighter than my Nike Winflo 9s, have a lighter mesh top for breathability, and the new cushioning had a nice bounce to it that ended up helping propel me forward better, I suppose, than my Carl Winflos. I may have tied them a little too loose though; they felt a little slippery during the run, but thankfully not enough to be an issue.
These shoes are (to me, the novice runner at least) like driving a Lamborghini, in the sense that any little pressure on the gas pedal sends me hurtling forward. 0-60 in 3 seconds sort of thing. So while my idea was to hit 11:00/mi pacing, I ended up starting much, much faster, around 9:45/mi. And felt fine! I walked a few times but whenever I ran again, I was practically bounding.
Third, and perhaps most important: my mentality. I just felt like I could do it. Basically, Garmin was suggesting threshold workouts where I’d run at threshold (10:10/mi) for 17 minutes. And I would get through that no problem. So this morning I thought, “Well, if I can run 17 minutes at threshold, surely I can run 30 minutes at threshold, right?”
The answer is … kinda! I ended up walking a few times because my HR was at around 175bpm and I wanted to get it lower (the 160s) so I wouldn’t run out of energy. But at no point did my heart rate ever feel like it was out of control, which is a great thing. It reminds me of cars: cars are designed to drive fast. Cars like being at around 55mph. Your heart is an engine, and it likes beating fast if that is helping to run the machine, you know?
Anyway, a couple of other things that I did that probably helped are: I ate a bagel with peanut butter and honey about an hour and a half before the run. Just had some fuel in the ol’ belly. And I left my phone in my car and ran only with my car key, my parkrun card, and my trusty Snot Rag (which I ended up not needing). I think staying light overall helped.
This all bodes well for a sub-30 5k by the end of the year. In fact I wouldn’t be surprised if I hit sub-30 by the end of the summer. We’ll see if I can sustain 32-33 minute 5ks in the future. (I probably won’t, and shouldn’t expect to.)
The Garlic Festival 5k is my next race and I’m hoping I can take my parkrun times and do that during a race. I haven’t gotten sub-35 in a 5k race yet. I think that will change soon.