Wednesday, August 05, 2009

The ski jumps at Calgary

One day I'll get the hang of this racing game. Last Saturday I placed 40th in a local 5k "road" race — it was actually an out and back run on a flattish bike path next to Lake Burley Griffin.

I started with the intention of running something close to 21 minutes (I would have been happy with 21:30). After 500 metres or so I thought I had an achievable pace going and was feeling good. Then Roger (20:27) and Geoff (21:20) glided past. I ran more or less with Heidi for 3k, and was managing to hold a gap of 30 metres or so to a couple of young girls from my club, Lili and Caitlin.

The last 2k was not a pretty sight as Heidi and the two girls disappeared over the horizon. I've made a chart of kilometre splits — it dramatically shows my wheels falling off one by one. My race looks like the profile of one of the big ski jumps at Calgary. I know because I took the lift to the top of the biggest one in 2003.

The other two lines on the chart show a better way to race a 5k. The middle one is from my all-time 5000m PB. The bottom line shows the splits Ron Clarke ran in 1966 on his way to a World Record. I'd like to run an M50 PB this coming track season. To do that, I need something under 4:15 kilometres. I'm inclined to keep my starts like the lower slopes of the Calgary ski jump, and hopefully flatten it out as my fitness and speed improves.

Running up a ski jump is slow!Running up the big ski jump at Calgary is not easy!
[ Splits - 4:11, 4:13, 4:35, 4:43, 4:51 ]


Blogger Thomas said...

Those splits are not a pretty reading, but 5Ks can be different. I recently ran a pretty good race by starting out like a lunatic and hanging on for dear life at the end. It's not recommended for anything longer, but it worked well enough for such a short distance.

Work on your stamina?

9:09 pm  
Blogger Jog Blog said...

Hmmm .... 2 alternative suggestions - (1) decide on your goal race distance and train specifically for that. Holding your speed over 5km may have faltered because you've been training for longer, shorter or no specific distance. (2) analyse less and run as you feel - some days are good race days, some days are not. The reasons are not always easy to identify or account for.

Either way, have another go. Neither a single good race nor a single bad race = "a trend". Hope this helps???

9:18 pm  
Blogger jojo said...

looks something like my last 5.1km at coliban-too fast too early

9:52 pm  
Blogger Superflake said...

Ron Clarke set that record on the day I was born! Start slow and then speed up. Becomes a downhill!

10:03 pm  
Blogger Girl In Motion said...

Oh well, they can't all be downhill to victory. I agree with Joe Blog, you haven't been training for short and sweet so it's hit or miss on how it'll go. I ran an especially sucky 4-miler last year while marathon training. Wasn't good for the psyche.

12:06 am  
Blogger Grellan said...

Very interesting splits Ewen. You've got the speed and endurance but you got to put them together in training for a decent 5k time as Joe Blog said.

Got me thinking - so I checked my 5k PB splits and they don't match your classic curve (3:30/40/49/50/49) or your Calgary ski jump. They also don't tell you that all my wheels fell of with 300m to go. Of course you have to factor in the course profile unless it's on the track.

4:57 am  
OpenID canute1 said...

Your first 2K was very impressive; the subsequent 3K confirms that your target was a bit too ambitious. In recent months you have experimented with high volume, burnt the toast a bit, and suffered some niggling injuries. In the past two weeks you have started to recover fitness, though virtually all your training has been in the range 5:00 to 6:00 min per Km – sensible for rebuilding fitness but not ideal preparation for a sub 21min 5K. Then on Saturday you started the 5K at a pace that would have taken more than 30 sec off your M50 PB, and you held that pace comfortably for a bit more than 2K. It was a bold attempt, but not one that provides a realistic indication of your potential 5K pace.

7:03 am  
Blogger trailblazer777 said...

I agree with Canutes assessment.
Excellent run there, you should be proud of that effort. See it as a starting benchmark to improve on...PB's (especially over 5k) usually require several attempts and at least 3-4 weeks of focused intervals or other training...I'd be working 1k intervals, 3k-5k ladders, and some 3k-5k tim trials for a few weeks with progressive improvement in all sessions before expecting a result...
The fact that you held onto a 4.12 per k average for the first 2k is very promising. Sure you need to work on getting that 3rd K split down about 6 secs or more, and the 4th K split down 14 secs or more, plus finish off your training sessions with a sprint for at least 200m-300m, so you can bring it home in 4.20 or better instead of blowing out to me the last k is the worst in that graph...your last K should never be your slowest, as you should be attacking towards the finish...Thanks for sharing the graphs very interesting to look at. Hope my thoughts are on! for a M50 PB in the near future hopefully...

8:24 am  
Blogger Scott Brown said...

Sounds like a good script for "without limits 2"

Scott: "Where does this compulsion come from Ewen?"

Ewen: "The only way I I know how to win is to run flat out till I have nothing left!"

Ewen: " Winning any other way is chicken shit!"

7:04 pm  
Blogger strewth said...

Sounds damn fast to me!!

7:49 pm  
Blogger Bruce said...

Canute sums up the race well. Plenty more speed work for you I think if you want to give that M50 PB a nudge. Have fun trying.

8:44 pm  
Blogger RICK'S RUNNING said...

I remember once running 3.10 for the first k [ on a 6 lap course] and slowing to a 18.36 finish, it felt like I hit a brick wall after after 5 mins of running, painfull way to run.
Alex Zulle ex tour de france rider once did some lab tests riding a turbo trainer, first task was to cover 5k all out trying to keep heart rate as high as possible, then after a recovery he was asked to ride the 5k at his A/T which was about 165 bpm.
surprisingly he covered the 5k faster....

2:55 am  
Blogger rinus said...

A good time and a 5km run is not so easy to do.
Your 2 km time is fast and that can make a fast 5 km time the next time.
And sorry, but i go to run a ultra soon, i now it is not good, but some times you must be do thinks in your live ;-).

6:36 am  
Blogger Ali said...

wheels on or off I'm impressed and you used some lovely canadian imagery too.

7:04 am  
Blogger Andrew said...

I say kudos for putting it on the line.

9:23 am  
Blogger Kelley Flood said...

Ah you are so funny Ewen.

8:29 pm  
Blogger Kelley Flood said...

Ewen you will have to start doing some fast interval work go hard go fast blow those cobwebs away.

8:31 pm  
Blogger R2B said...

Ewen i think you need to slow the second km down a little because then you will be able to do the next 2km faster and you already finish fast enough!

Cheers Adrian

1:59 am  
Blogger Ewen said...

Thanks all for your thoughtful comments - they're much appreciated.

Liz, I do have a goal race distance, which is 3k to 5k on the track - but I'm thinking I'm one of those runners who races those distances better off marathon-type endurance.

Canute, you're totally accurate in that assessment - expecting to run 4:10 kms when I've done no recent practise at that speed was more than a little ambitious.

Jonathon, yes, for sure - I need a little faster running in my training. The last km was so ugly because I was dead! (There was a strong headwind for the last 200m which blew me to a stop).

Scott, great idea, but the script needs a little fine-tuning. Think I'd be saying "the only way I know how to win is to race flat-out - like Scott Brown!" And I've always fancied myself as being a better actor than Billy Crudup, even if I could pass for Clint Eastwood's twin brother.

Kelley, I'd be funnier if a had a funny nickname ;) But I'm going to take your advice and blow the cobwebs away!

Adrian, thanks, I know that would work, but I'm going to keep following the Scott/Thomas plan of starting fast and seeing what happens.

11:04 am  
Blogger Sling Runner said...

I think the second graph (your all time PB) is a typical profile for competitive, non-elite runners. Strong in the first couple ks, then holding on during km 3-4 as lactic acid spikes and HR nears its Max, before finally the brain sends a signal to forget all the pain and go home hard in the last 1k.

Perhaps can experiment with change of pace intervals, e.g. 5 x 1k at 5k pace but make the 3rd and the 5th just a hair faster than the rest.

5:22 pm  
Blogger bill carter said...

Hi Ewen

I know you are a little disappointed with this last 5k, but we all have good days and bad days. One thing that I always admire about you is that you are able to look back on such an amazing career as a runner and compare the then and now. Your all time PB was one of those days where you had your best stuff and you really shined. Also, maybe the weather was better, maybe you weren't running into a breeze, who knows?

I think you are a great runner and someone who I kind of look up to for knowledge and experience. Truly.

BTW, I have had more than a few of those Calgarys in my races....

1:38 am  
Blogger Jog Blog said...

Hey Ewen, Did you run City to Surf in Syd last w'end? If so, how'd it go?

6:01 pm  
Blogger Ewen said...

Thanks Bill. I remember that race like it was yesterday - it was at night, the ACT 5000m championship on the track, and dead calm.

Liz, yes I ran, and it wasn't a "Calgary" (except for heart-break hill). I hope to post something tomorrow - only have the title and the plot so far.

7:02 pm  

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