Tuesday, February 07, 2006

What Gives?

Saturday I ran the Super Run 5K and set a PR. I was amazed that I could run 3.1 miles in 22:36, 7.17 pace. I almost never run that fast. I started second guessing the course measurement. But decided it must have been close since Jesse and Jim's times were on par with their prior perforances. So I had convinced myself that I had really lowered my time significantly.

Then, I did my speed workout today. I went over the old dirt track at the local junior high. There are no lane markings and I'm making the assumption that it is a standard size track of 400 meters (440 yards) therefore 4 laps per mile. I did 5 - 400 meter speed laps with a recovery lap in between, just like a couple of weeks ago. I did the laps in almost the same times as before, but I was beat at the end of each lap. I walked the curve during the recovery, then jogged on. Then I started calculating in my head, 4 laps at just less than 2 minutes a lap ... that's less than an 8:00 mile but well over a 7:00. Right?

When I got home I added up the time for the 5 speed laps (9:06), divided by 1.25 miles and come up with a 7:17 pace. The same pace I kept in the 5K. The thing that bothers me is that during the 5K, I felt good, a little pushed beyond normal but not exhausted. At the track I felt pooped after only a 1/4 mile and looked forward to the slow lap.

Am I doing the math right? Why does a 7:17 pace on the track seem much harder than the same pace during a 5K race? I'm probably oversimplifying or misunderstanding some basic concept. What gives?


Raul! said...

Great job at the 5K! I hate 5K's because of the discomfort, but I'd love to eventually finish under 20 minutes. That would require a lot of work.

As for the discrepancy between the speed workout and the race, you probably felt better at the race because your body and mind were focused on the race. Knowing that the speed workout was just practice, your body was saying "I don't want to" even though it was perfectly capable. In some ways, practice runs are tougher than the actual races because the motivation has to come from within. At race day, surrounded by other (faster?) runners, you can't help but be energized.

Which Jr. High did you run at? Traweek? When I was at school, we generally estimated that a lap around the Covina High campus was 1 mile, so you may want to try that.

Rae said...

Awesome job!! For me, the actual race seems easier just because there's so much else to look at along the course and all the other people to keep you motivated. When I'm training by myself or with Brent it just doesn't seem as necessary to push myself as much, which is something I've got to work on!