Last week, I saw that my training plan had me doing a fartlek workout today. The schedule called for a 5k pace on the hard efforts. I knew there was a MLK Day 5k coming up, so I just figured I would run that instead for my workout. I rearranged my days, did the race yesterday and I completely surprised myself on the improvements I’ve made.
My PR going into the race was 18:51 which I did at the end of September. And that was the last 5k I’ve done. I knew I would break that but wasn’t sure on how much. I set my goal at 18:30 and recruited a friend to pace me.
I came in at 18:07 and finished 3rd overall!
It was a great race. A perfect mix of flats, up hills and down hills. I put in a maximum effort too. My pacer kept telling me to kick when we were at 800m and 400m to go. My mind was even yelling to kick. But my body was at it’s threshold.
Here are my reasons why races are the best workouts:
-You get competitive. I’m probably not alone when I say that I’m a lone wolf when it comes to training. I just prefer to run by myself. So when I surround myself with others it’s just human instinct to be competitive and push myself harder. Which leads me to the next point…
-It’s easier. With adrenaline pumping, hitting faster times comes easier. I might have struggled on my own going 18:30 pace. But in the race setting, I was finding new limits.
-You get to gauge your fitness. I use the McMillan Calculator for my training paces. You basically say what your most recent race time was and what your goal time is, then it spits out different pace ranges for you to run in during different types of runs. If I didn’t do the race, I would still be using my pace chart from my 18:51 PR. Now I know what I can do and make even more improvements.
-You learn discipline. When the gun goes off, it’s natural just to want to take off. You learn how to correctly pace yourself in a race. It takes a lot of discipline to be patient early on in a race to finish strong.
-You learn what not to do. If you have a bad race/workout. You know what not to do next time.
-You have more fun. It’s just more fun to be in a social gathering with friends and fellow runners. And you get free food at the end!
Do you do races as workouts? Do you ask faster friends to pace you in races?