From a 20:20 5k to an 18:13

It’s hard to believe this time last year I was getting ready for my second full marathon.  It’s the last marathon I’ve run.

Last year after completing the Phoenix full marathon, I felt like I failed.  Despite PRing, I finished the race injured.  Thinking out loud, I didn’t enjoy marathon training, and I didn’t enjoy the race.  The race was put together well, but it was not right for me.

What was there left to enjoy? For me, the marathon negatives outweighed the positives, and I decided I was done with the distance for a while.

Running the distance I wanted was the best decision I made for myself.

Last May I began my journey of running mostly 5ks.  The first 5k I ran was at a local high school, and I ran a 20:20.  It was disappointing, but it gave me a truthful baseline.  Sometimes, the truth hurts.  Getting the baseline was not only physically painful but mentally painful too.  It was hard to come to terms with the fact that I was running that pace.  Before marathon training, I never ran above a 20 minute 5k. The first step in achieving a goal is being honest with yourself, and that was where I was.

Goals are not attainable if they aren’t realistic.

My friend Austin and I at that race
My friend Austin and I at that race

Between May and now I’ve consistently trained.  I don’t have a secret and to be honest, no athlete should!  If you have a secret of “how you got fast overnight”, generally it’s not legal.

Last May I mentioned I was going to race a lot and I did.  Did I think I would PR at every race?  No, absolutely not.

So I took a break from marathons and got healthy and then ran a bunch of races. I wanted to focus on shorter races, and I wanted to gain leg speed back.  I thrive on racing, so I decided to do what made me happy, which was more racing.  Racing as frequently as I did, allowed me to improve as rapidly as I did.  It’s easy to see I was doing more speed work than ever before.

I attribute better fitness to a few things:

  • Consistency in my training and easy runs
  • The amount of racing and speed workouts

Each race I learned something about my running.

Each race was a stepping stone to the fitness I’m at now.

Each race was considered a workout for a larger goal of PRing.  It’s not realistic to think I could go from running a 20+ minute 5k to a PR.

Click to tweet: Consistency leads to progression which leads to PRs.

Last weekend I ran another PR of 18:13.  That is just over 2 minutes faster than where I started last May.  It is 9 seconds faster than my PR in a dress on January 1st.  It’s also 40 seconds quicker than a PR that stood for over two years.

flower show cannon

Now that I’ve Pred in everything from the 5k to half, where does this lead me?

Right now I will finish the Spring racing season with a few more shorter distances.  If I can stay healthy throughout Spring and Summer, I might give the full marathon another shot.  A lot can change both mentally and physically in the next few months, but I haven’t ruled racing another full marathon out.

Questions for you:

What is your favorite race distance?

What are you consistently working at right now?