I'm starting to learn that my 5K training is a delicate balance of working on improving a number of factors: increasing speed, extending my endurance, slowing my breathing and avoiding injury. That's a lot of crap to juggle as I push this body forward each day.
When I started training months ago, my focus was strictly on time. And, yeah, that's still pretty important to me. The Disney Princess 5K run recommends a 16-min mile pace. So, that typically looms large in my muddled mind.
However, after injuring myself over the summer by relentlessly pursuing perfection, I learned I need to dial it back, no matter how impatient I may be.
Every time the lessons come back to patience: with my body, my expectations, the scale. Ugh.
This week, I tweaked my left calf/shin. I ran two workouts in a row where I didn't stop once to walk. The accomplishment I felt was undeniable. But, yesterday I had to make a choice. Chase after that specific accomplishment once more or rest up and try again another day. I opted to pass on the run and see what today would bring.
Today's 20-minute 5K training session tempted me to try to run the whole thing, as I had previously. Instead, I chose to stick with my walk/run intervals, but allowing my body to dictate the run time and walk time. It turns out listening to my body is actually working. Go figure, right?
For only the second time, my overall pace was below 15 minutes. Am I excited? Damn straight I am! My heart rate was lower than the last time I did it, too.
I'm taking care of my body and I truly believe it is now giving back and working to help me take care of myself. Yeah, it sounds weird. But, I'm kinda weird, so....
Today's workout takeaway: this is not a full-race pace for me. I couldn't complete a full 5K at this level. At least not now. For my next long run, slated for 2.5 miles on Monday, I plan to take the first 1.5 miles or so a little slower so I can pace myself for the long haul. The goal is to finish and to end it strong—not like I want to keel over and die!