This evening I completed my final run of 2014 and, despite the ups and downs of my first full year of running, I’m pleased to say that it ended on a high. In fact, this past week has been one of my best so far in terms of progress.
At the weekend, I managed to achieve two 5K PBs. The first was on Saturday, when I started off with the intention of running the whole 5 kilometres but then switched to run-walk-run after the 3K mark. As I’d walked part of it, I was surprised to beat my PB of 8 months previously, so I thought I’d run the same route on Sunday using run-walk-run for the full distance to see if there is any truth in the claim that you can achieve better times using run-walk-run than you can by running alone.
To cut a long story short (it’s in my previous post of you want to read about it), it worked. I beat Saturday’s PB by 22 seconds and achieved my first ever sub 31 time for 5K. But who’s to say I wouldn’t have been quicker by running the whole way? After all, it made sense that Sunday’s time would be quicker as I was using the run/walk ratio throughout the entire run, rather than waiting until I felt I needed a break because I hadn’t paced myself properly. So, this evening I decided to try to get a more accurate comparison by running the whole way.
It was pretty cold when I went out, just a couple of degrees above freezing, so I layered up with a long-sleeved t-shirt, short sleeved t-shirt, my new winter running top (the kind that has holes for your thumbs so that you can keep your hands warm) and an old hoody that I could easily remove and tie around my waist in the unlikely event that I got too hot.
Luckily there wasn’t much of a breeze on the seafront so although it was very cold it wasn’t too uncomfortable. I set off at a comfortable pace and tried to keep an eye on the Garmin as I passed under the street lights. It was important not to set off too quickly and tire myself out early as I really wanted to see if I could beat Sunday’s time.
The plan was to do the first kilometre in under 6:30 and gradually pick up the pace so that I could finish with a good kick. I was aiming for an average pace of under 6:11, so I figured it should be doable. The only problem I had with this was that, as it was dark, I couldn’t check my pace as much as I would have liked. But still, I kept it going, trying to increase the pace gradually as I went.
By the final kilometre, the pace had increased to 6:00, but I was feeling pretty tired. My legs didn’t feel like they were turning over as quickly as I would have liked, and there certainly wasn’t any kick left in them. However, I still kept pushing, trying to up the pace until the Garmin finally beeped at 5K.
Unfortunately, I didn’t manage to beat Sunday’s time, but I wasn’t too far off it and finished at 31:03 – just 9 seconds slower than with run-walk-run, but still faster than Saturday’s PB.
Of course, whether you are using run-walk-run or running the whole way, no two runs are ever the same, so I can’t really claim at this stage that run-walk-run is always going to be faster. What it does show, however, is it doesn’t seem to make that much difference to my 5K time as both runs were around 31 minutes.
As I continue with my training over the next month or so, I plan to continue to use both methods for my 5K runs, so maybe a pattern will start to emerge – or maybe not. Either way though, it’s good to see some progress.
How has your training gone this year? Have you completed your final run of 2014? Are you happy with your progress so far? Please share your thoughts in the comments.