Racing Too Many 5ks and Progression (Part 2)

A couple of months ago I wrote a post about racing too many 5ks.  I enjoy racing, but I know it’s too many for some people. Plus there are plenty of 5ks each weekend now but during the winter months, the amount of races dwindle.  I don’t know what my social life will become!

I thought I would continue the update because it’s a reminder to me of how far I’ve come since beginning my 5k Plan. As I continue to improve, I continue to reflect which is equally as important.  Reflecting allows me to see that although my progress is not linear, I am still progressing.

me 5k

After my somewhat downer marathon at Phoenix and two years of no progression (actually more like regression…), I decided my training needed to change.  When I was training for both marathons, running shorter distance was not what I wanted to do.  Similarly, running longer distances like a marathon is not what I want to do right now.

Before I train for another full marathon (which to be honest, I have no idea or inclination of when that will be), I want to PR in everything shorter.

I want to get back to my times I was running when I did run the 3:17 New York. Both 3:17 and 3:15 are respectable marathon times, however, they don’t align with a 1:23.23 half marathon or 18:35 5k PR. So my goal is to continue training shorter until I am back to my 5k fitness and more importantly until I WANT to run a marathon…

Belmar 1

Here is a look back at my progression by monthly 5k PRs:

(All of my race recaps can be found here)

May: 20:15
June: 19:40
July: 19:15
Aug: 19:34
Sept: 20:07 (But a solid 10k Performance of 40:55 and 13.1 of 1:31.48_)
Oct: 18:56

Image from Bob Brock
Image from Bob Brock

Half Marathon Progression:
Sep 7: 1:31:48
Oct 17: 1:28.18
Oct 31: 1:25.45

RnR Virginia Beach

As you can see, my progression over the last five months has not been linear.

What happened in most of July, August and September?

My fastest 5k was sent July 4th at the Firecracker 5k.  From July 5-October 4, I didn’t have any 5ks that matched that race.  For a while, I was wondering if the race was a fluke.  I was putting in speed work as well as mileage but I was plateaued.  Was it the heat?  Was it the fact that I raced other distances and succeeded (The Belmar Chase 5 miler, RnR Half and the Grapes and Peaches 10k)?  Was it the fact that at least 3 of the 5ks I raced I had been out late?  Or even that a lot of 5ks were in a hilly section of Delaware?  I had a lot of factors that looking back I trained through 90% of those 5ks so it’s no wonder they weren’t meeting my goals.

To be honest, it was probably a combination of all of those things.  It was demotivating, and none of my races were bad, but they weren’t the progress I was seeking. Finally at the Festival of Races I began to break through my plateau with a 19:13 5k…so there was hope.


How was this already a month ago?

I’m at the point that I know I’m nearly at my goal of Pring!  If the Bone Run wasn’t, a short course I am convinced I would have Pred.  I was on the appropriate pace.  Due to racing other distances and my work schedule, I’m not sure I’ll be able to take a stab at in November but hopefully before 2015 is over!  As long as I continue to put in the work and effort I know that I’ll see results eventually.  It’s nice to be able to look back at races and see concrete evidence of work.

The next question: Isn’t racing every weekend, twice a weekend, etc. so expensive?

Actually racing shorter distances really isn’t that expensive.  Most 5ks are between 20-30 dollars, but it’s a hobby I truly enjoy. Most months I spent between 100-200 dollars on race fees. With running a few half marathons recently, it’s been more expensive.   I like going to run a race most weekends and it makes me happy…so paying race fees doesn’t bother me.  There are much more expensive hobbies out there such as triathaloning or marathoning…NYCM I’m looking at you.  I wrote a post about how to save money on road races” as well.  I still, practice those and I actually found a Groupon for RnR Philadelphia last month.

Questions for you:
How do you measure your progress?
How often do you race?