Targeting speed.

This year I set myself two targets. I’m still not sure if I’ll be able to get there, but things are going reasonably well so far.

Those goals were:

  1. Break 19 minutes for a 5k.
  2. Break 1 hour 30 for a half marathon.

It doesn’t look like a good start when you look at my only half marathon result for the year so far: 1:32:02 in the Rutgers Unite Half on April 13th, and not a single 5k run yet this year, but if you look at where I am now compared to the same races last year, then things don’t necessarily look so bad (considering a late June 2013 5k last year gave me a PR of 19:15 and a September half marathon gave me a PR of 1:30:59).

Those comparisons are:

2013 Miles for Music 20k: 1:30:58
2014 Miles for Music 20k: 1:27:58

2013 Unite Half Marathon: 1:33:18
2014 Unite Half Marathon: 1:32:02

2013 Newport 10k: 41:28
2014 Newport 10k: 41:07

In amongst this I managed a 15k PR of 1:03:18 at the Clinton Country Run, but that’s a tougher comparison as my only other 15k performances have been at Indian Trails which is a hillier race (my time there last year was 1:05:16 – the year before 1:04:39).

Last year I was definitely running more miles, but this year a big difference in what sort of running I have been doing is the weekly speed workouts with the Raritan Valley Road Runners. This has been my first experience of structured speed workouts with defined targets for each week and I’m pretty sure it’s helping.

What helps even more is doing this with a group, and more specifically, with a group that includes runners who are slightly faster than me. Runners that push me to extend just that little bit beyond my comfort zone. I know that this is happening because one week, when I was out of the country and couldn’t join the regular group, I attempted to complete the workout on my own. Admittedly it wasn’t under the same conditions – I had no track to work on, and I incorporated it into an already planned 11 mile run (starting the speed workout 5 miles in), but when comparing my times against those I was running with at the track other weeks I was fairly significantly slower, plus I didn’t actually finish (it ended with 400m and I didn’t even get half way through before deciding enough was enough; I was done and still had over a mile to go before I could stop running) – but I’m sure I would have done better with others to spur me on.

Are my goals achievable? Maybe, maybe not, but I’m definitely going to be trying my hardest to get there, and this past weekend’s 10k result (although disappointing in some ways because I really wanted to get under 41 minutes) definitely seems like a sign that I am still getting faster.


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2 Responses to Targeting speed.

  1. Doesn’t look you are too far away from meeting those goals. They are impressive PBs in only a 12 month period!

  2. barefoottc says:

    Good luck with your goals! My goals for this year are to dip under 17 minutes for 5k (currently 17:24 is my PB) and to get a Half Marathon PB (which means running better than 1:27:32, which I am well capable of, as long as I stay fit). Speed work really does make a difference – I’ve found that too!

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