Thursday, February 25, 2010

The Indoor 5k

Sometimes, a runner has to make the best of what he's given, even if he's not given much. This is perhaps most prevalent where time is concerned; one cannot seem to find enough hours in the day to run the way they would like. Still, loosing hope is not an option; we simply adapt, change, and adjust the best we can.

Yesterday, I wanted to run, but quickly found that time was not on my side. I had to meet my study group at 2, and had a class at 6; there would be time in between, but not enough to get in a quality outdoor run. In addition, the straps on my KSOs failed, and I had to take the time to re-sew them before I could run with them. While I was at it, I changed the design a bit, eliminating the foot-wrap that the old strap incorporated, instead simply cinching the strap over the top of the foot. Not one to give in too easily (especially after an extended rest period), I ran again on Drexel's indoor track.

A few laps into my workout, I decided I would go the distance of 5k, and I would run in such a way that my average pace would be my goal marathon pace. My plan worked well, and after 38 laps and 3.14 miles, my average pace was 7:01- right on target. At my target pace, my average HR was 160, and my average cadence was 88-90. Better still, though, was what I found when I analyzed the data from my Garmin afterward.

I had thrown in a few 'fast laps' to keep things interesting, and to try and train my body to prepare for changes in speed throughout the race. On one of these, I stepped up my game to run what I thought was a 5:20 pace for a lap; I wanted to see what it felt like to run that fast after running longer and slower for so many months. It felt good, and I believed I could have pushed to hold the pace for a mile if I wanted to. The Garmin, however, showed me something I have not seen in my training yet: that 21 second lap was run at a 4:43 pace. Now, it may not sound like much- anyone can sprint- but even in my treadmill training, when I regularly challenge myself with high speed, 20 second intervals, I have never pushed beyond a 4:50 pace, and only did that once.

All this long distance training is paying off after all, despite what the experts believe should be happening to me. I feel better and more in control of my capacities at high speeds than ever before, and I can run with the confidence that can only be found after miles and miles of footsteps. When this summer brings its shorter races, I think I'll be better prepared for them than ever before.


  1. What's the best way to measure cadence? Do you use a foot pod? thx

  2. Just curious if you ran shod or barefoot for this?

  3. Hey guys... I ran in Vibrams for this, since my gym would frown upon going barefoot on the track. I measure cadence with a foot pod. If you're interested in a general idea, count the number of strikes one foot makes during a 60 second interval.