So I’m running a 5K tonight.
And I’m pretty nervous for it. I’ve been targeting this race — the Icebreaker Indoor 5K (part of the Icebreaker Indoor Marathon weekend) at the Pettit National Ice Center — as the one where I might finally break the 20-minute mark.
The conditions *should be* ideal: it’s an indoor 5K on a flat track. It’s temperature-controlled, there’s no wind, there’s no hills, and there’s no potholes. There might be some minor track congestion from the other runners, but, theoretically, I should be able to run this one as well as my conditioning will allow me to.
However, the closer I get to race time, the more concerned I’m becoming that my conditioning’s not what it should be if sub-20 is my goal.
About a month ago, I changed my training approach. Previously my training consisted of shorter high-intensity runs, low-mileage weeks, and a lot of cross training. In the past month, my training has shifted to a more traditional approach. It’s included some limited high-intensity sprints, and while I’ve maintained my stair-climb cross training, I’ve mainly been focused more on running longer distances at moderate paces.
My previous low-mileage, high-intensity approach has worked pretty well for me. My PR is 20:12, but I did that last June. And last June feels like forever ago.
My new approach is based on a Hal Higdon model for intermediate-level 5K training, which puts you on a specific training schedule (as does his methodology for all levels and all distances). I’ve maintained the schedule mostly as specified in the past month when I jumped into it. However, I ran into some minor injury issues about a week and a half ago that I presume stem from the added mileage and lack of additional cross training I’m used to.
This caused me to take a step back with not a lot of time to get caught back up to where I should be. And then my schedule called for two days of rest before the race. I feel like instead of getting amped up into my run, which I’m more used to, I’ve fallen into a forced taper.
I was scheduled for long runs on Friday (5 miles) and Saturday (7 miles), but about halfway through my Friday run, I came up limping with a sore foot. I cut my run in half, and tweaked my schedule moving forward. Saturday I didn’t run at all to rest my foot. Sunday I maintained my stair climb schedule, climbing 104 flights with a 13.5-lb weight vest. Monday I attempted a longer run – I aimed for 7 miles, but stopped at 5, as my legs were sore/tired from stairs the previous day. Later on Monday I did some cross training, which wore out my legs even further, especially my hamstrings. Tuesday I ran 4×400 after some extensive stretching, and then took part in my usual Tuesday abs/core class.
My legs were pretty sore Wednesday, and less so Thursday, so in the moment I welcomed the prescribed rest days; however, today I’m worried that I’m not in good enough shape to run today’s race as fast as I’m hoping to.
I don’t think I’ll do terribly, but hopefully I’ll do better than I’m concerned I will now. I’m sure part of my trepidation has to do with that I switched approaches and I’ve not put this one to the test yet. Tonight will be the test.
Another pre-race note: I gave myself my traditional day-before-race haircut last night. Usually I shave my face as well; however, I’ve been growing a beard since the start of November. I was on the fence about keeping it for races, but it’s so thick and awesome I’ve decided to keep it for now. Hopefully it doesn’t increase the wind resistance too much and slow me down. Even if it does, at least I’ll look awesome.