Mission 1959: close, but not yet close enough

As I said in the previous post concerning my sub 20 minute 5k mission, this weekend my schedule dictated a 20 minute tempo run, which I decided to switch to a full on 5k tempo run to assess where I stand at the moment. Training has been going pretty well the past few weeks, I have hit target pace in nearly all my intervals, so I was fairly confident I’d do pretty well and maybe, just maybe, would be able to go under 20 minutes already, even though I’m only just over halfway the schedule.

I plotted a nice and flat 5k route close to home on Google Maps, with just three turns and no major junctions. I wouldn’t want to risk having to stop or being slowed down by traffic! After a decent warm up routine I set off. My previous 5k efforts since I’ve started Mission 1959 were always with at least one full stop to get the heart rate down a little, so the times I set until now weren’t ‘official’ times. Today, I vowed to myself I’d at least set a proper 5k time, so stopping was not an option. The first 2k were doable, but after that running got significantly tougher. In case you didn’t know, 5k is a very tough distance to race, long enough to blow up if you set out too fast, too short to be able to shift down a gear and pick up the pace later on. There’s a pretty fine line between going too slow and going too fast.

Kilometres 3 and 4 were tough, as I said, but nothing compared to the last one. By then, I was sure I was going to keep on running, something I really needed to convince myself of during kilometres 3 and 4, but it wasn’t pretty. Form and running technique were long gone and all effort was spent on just hanging on and finishing. After the Garmin beep that signaled I completed 5k I took some time to regain my breath and to try and stay upright, because all I really wanted to do was lie down.. Not a good idea though, in the middle of the road in the rain. So I walked for a bit and checked out the time. By then, I somehow knew it would be close but not enough and I was right, it took me 20.18 to get round.

On the one hand, I am a bit disappointed, because I was so close and to be honest, part of me just wants to be done with the 5k training and return back to half marathon training and trail running. On the other hand, it’s a major, major step forwards from the 22.33 I managed to do in the previous trial run, and as I said, the schedule is only half way. I am convinced I will be able to run 19.59 or better in six more weeks, but it’s going to take some more hard work..

Current 5k time: 20.18

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