I’m starting to get a bit of a pet peeve when people say “just” a 5k. Or “just” anything, for that matter. If you’re heading into a race saying “just” then you’re either not pushing hard enough, or selling yourself incredibly short. Either way, that’s something people need to get out of the habit of. I’m including myself in people, by the way. I’m equal parts excited, scared, and embarrassed by my chosen end of season race.
I’ve been looking forward to ending my season with this 5k for over seven months now. I’ve raced on this exact course twice already this season, and my goal at the Veteran’s Day 5k is to get a new PR. I’m running more than ever before, and feeling physically really good while I’m at it. The BarryP plan is where its at! If you aren’t familiar with the plan, click the link to get the full read. In a nutshell, the plan has you running nice and easy 6 days a week. In the beginning, you don’t increase your total volume at all, only your frequency, so for me that meant spreading 10 miles a week out over 6 days instead of 3. You run easy, and you increase volume modestly. Anecdotally, it seems that once your volume builds to a certain level, your paces start to come down. Granted, I likely won’t see those paces change too much before race day, but I’m still excited to see what kind of benefits I’ll see from these eight weeks of running more.
Stepping outside of the comfort zone is always a bit scary, right? Add to that the fact that my training times seem somehow slower than ever before (???) and I’m anxious that I won’t be able to meet my goals for this race. I could get out there on race day and not be able to pace myself properly. Or maybe I peaked earlier this summer, and the speed isn’t there anymore. This is the first time that I’ve actually put time based pressure on myself. Its an interesting experience in and of itself. Setting goals based on feelings or actions is a very different game. You can remind yourself during the race and change accordingly. Had a goal to smile? Smile! No walking during the run leg of a sprint? Just keep running! But running at a particular pace? Ooooh, now that’s scary. Kind of a good scary, though.
Just a 5k. Sigh. I’m quick to correct anyone who says that to me, but I still do it to myself. Sometimes I’m clicking through my feedly, and it seems like everyone is prepping for more traditionally impressive fall races. Even harder this week, since its Kona week! On the local scene, there’s Marine Corps, Philly, Richmond, and all the big fall half and full marathons. There seems to be more glory in long course racing. Or, perhaps that just me hearing the siren call of endurance? At any rate, I’m struggling a bit with feeling proud and confident about my goal race. This is compounded by my paces, which feel “too slow.” Slow and fast are such relative terms. I’m sure there are people who would be over the moon to have a 5k PR of 30 minutes, and others who would be mortified with anything over 20. In addition to being irritated when people say “just” a 5k, another pet peeve is when people, especially women, apologize for their speed. Fast, slow, it seems like women can’t start apologizing for their paces fast enough. If you’re slow like me, there’s the “Sorry, I know X:XX doesn’t sound fast, but for me it is” rhetoric. For the speedsters, there’s plenty of “I was practically crawling at X:XX (sorry if that offends anyone).” Can we all please agree to stop apologizing for our performance?
So that’s what’s on the horizon. I’m running more frequently than I ever have before, and really enjoying doing lots of little miles. There are some brewing nerves about whether or not I’ll be able to reach the goals that I’m setting for myself, but I’m going to embrace the anxiety and use it as fuel for the fire. And most important of all, I’m racing a 5k, and I’m proud of it. No apologies!