Saturday, January 07, 2012

New Year, Same Goal

Although it's a new year, we're in the middle of the season for track racing in Australia. My goal for 2012 remains the same as for last year: run faster than 20:00 for 5000 metres. My mate Bruce suggested I have an easier goal — under 22 minutes for example, or even to break my M50 PB of 21:29 from 2008. Wimp! I like difficult goals!

Just how hard is it to run a 20-minute 5k? Not hard at all for some runners. Jaymee Marty runs faster than that pace for a marathon... on one good leg and rapping about it all the way. For me though, in 2012, it's plenty hard enough. I have to run at 75% according to the age-grading calculators. My all-time PB of 17:33.5 is equivalent to 72.69%, so I need to run over 2% "better" as a 55-year-old (in April), than I did as a 33-year-old. Phew!

My running has been going reasonably well, although my heart-beats per kilometre readings have taken a hit since giving blood last Saturday. Prior to that I'd been recording 710 to 730 HB/KM for my 10k courses. Three days after giving blood that number was 757. A temporary hiccup. I raced 5000m on Thursday at what I estimated to be a high tempo effort rather than all-out. In a 40-person field I finished last in 23:55.74. I was dizzy counting the number of times I was lapped!

The training I plan on doing to run 20 minutes for 5k revolves around two things: 1) Consistency, and 2) "5k" Training Sessions. I want to run consistent mileage (the more the better, provided I'm recovering well). I want to run one (or two if I'm not racing) sessions per week of race-paced or faster running of the type that Julie's doing as she edges towards 20 minutes. I started on Monday with the Speedygeese and a 10 x 200m session on one of the grassy footpaths at Parliament House.

World's biggest heel strike
If I'm to run 20 minutes for 5k I should fine-tune my heel-striking running technique! [J Harding photo]


Blogger Andrew(ajh) said...

A 20 minute 5km would be a very bold goal. In fact, for me, I'd say impossible.

9:57 pm  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Dang! 75% of age grade sounds like a cool goal. Love playing with that calculator. My best age-grade performance is 74.4% at 8KM.

And I think Bruce is onto something. Focusing on "easier" mini-goals as steps before hitting the <20 (like nabbing 22 and then 21:29), might help keep your eyes on the prize. If I were going for a time goal that seemed like a tall order, I suspect I'd be spurred on in pursuit of it by the positive feedback of hitting other "easier" goals on my way to the big one.

8:18 am  
Blogger Ewen said...

Andrew, it'd be impossible if one were to only do cycling training ;) I think you'd be surprised how close you could get if you could manage to do appropriate running training.

SK, yes, but your 74.4% is with little competition ;) Good point, although I was never one for 'B' and 'C' goals. I'll definitely be pleased with both a sub-22 and the 21:29 when I run them.

11:57 am  
Blogger strewth said...

You'll do it Ewen. It's a bit like a diet - lose 1kilo at a time - ie a few seconds each race and you will gradually reach your goal. You're even running the long runs faster. Just keep on running and don't forget your friends trailing behind you on the long training runs!:)

12:01 pm  
Blogger Two Fruits said...

Go for the 20 minute challenge at 75%. It won't get any easier as you get older, so do it now. Be positive.

4:14 pm  
Blogger Ewen said...

Strewth, that's right about my longer runs. 5:40 ks feels like 6s used to. Just run in front of us and we won't forget you ;)

2F, thanks. I'm channeling your positive energy. I'm encouraged that Jim W ran around 20:15 on the road at 57 so I have a couple of years if I can match him.

8:27 pm  
Blogger Lize Brittin said...

Good luck, Ewen! It sounds like you have some great goals for this year. I hope it's a good one for you.

4:13 pm  
Blogger Black Knight said...

I think that if you work only for the sub 20 min/K you can do it.
In my opinion to be faster you'd have to include hill sessions, swimming and long distance runs before starting the speed work.
My PB on the distance is 19'38" (20 years ago). Now it is impossible for me a sub 20. I hope to finish Cardiff in 22' but I have to work hard. Good luck.

9:01 pm  
Blogger Ewen said...

Thanks Lize!

Stefano, yes that's right. The 5k is the race distance I'm training for. Wish I had time for swimming! Will make do with hills and speedwork. Even if 20 years ago, you've still run sub-20. Cardiff in 22 is possible for sure!

10:12 pm  
Blogger Thomas said...

Setting a goal is great.

Now go and do it.

3:08 am  
Blogger Ewen said...

Thanks Thomas! That was a great rev-up. You should be a coach. I'll do it!

9:24 pm  
Blogger Jog Blog said...

I'm sure you can reach your goal and run a sub 20min 5Km this year. However, I think you'll get there faster if you train with runners who are striving for the same goal or faster. Training at our own level or below ourselves produces "more of the same". I recommend you do your medium-long runs at whatever pace you want and with whoever you want, but that you do your 5km-10km training sessions with those who are already running @ 4min/km pace for 5km or even a bit faster. Just an idea .... but I think it will work .... :)

8:32 pm  
Blogger Luckylegs said...

Ouch! That heel strike looks very much like an ankle roll!

Good luck with your goal - you can but try!

2:12 pm  
Blogger Ewen said...

Thanks Liz. So, generally running quicker most days except for the Saturday medium-long (16k) run? At the moment I run with others Monday, Thursday (race) and Saturday (long) and the other days are by myself.

Monday can be 'with' 20-minute 5k runners - that day is pretty much maximum effort (at the moment intervals with Speedygeese). Thursday is a race, so maximum effort. The other days I've been running 10k at a medium pace (5:30 - 5:50 ks)... so run quicker on these days?

Luckylegs, I claim to be slamming on the brakes so I wouldn't run into the back of Maria ;)

4:56 pm  
Blogger Grellan said...

That's a very lofty goal alright Ewen. Maybe you need an intermediate goal to help you bridge the gap as Bruce suggests. After all goals should be SMART.

Specific (yep 5k)
Measurable (yep watch)
Achievable (hmmm...ok)
Relevant (yep...running related)
Timebound (sometime in 2012 or ??)

10:12 am  
Blogger Ewen said...

Grellan, I like the SMART acronym. Perhaps 'Ambitious' as well as 'Achievable'? For 'Timebound', at the moment I'm thinking the end of the 2012/13 track season (March 2013), but I'd like to do it before then. My main intermediate goal would be 21:29.

3:24 pm  
Blogger Sling Runner said...


Happy New Year and all the best for 2012.

Re: Pfitz plan, you can refer to this as a guideline but the book has more stuffs

2:08 am  
Blogger Ewen said...

Thanks Sling. Same to you for 2012 - hope there's a sub-3 marathon in there for you. Thanks for the link - looks a good marathoners' program.

4:07 pm  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Good luck with your sub-20 goal. Runners who set ambitious targets are more likely to achieve faster times (though they are also more at risk of injury) I agree with all those suggesting intermediate targets, but I think it is great to have an ambitious ultimate target.
With regard to the rather dramatic heel strike, you were not only protecting Maria but perhaps also yourself. When running down hill it is possible to achieve spectacular speed by decreasing time on stance but this is at the cost of greatly increased ground reaction force. It is safer to increase time of stance by landing a little further in front of your centre of gravity. This can be achieved by reducing knee stiffness (ie less tension in the hams and quads) – to achieve this I think: ‘soft knees.’ This also tends to result in landing a bit further back on the foot. I normally land slightly forward of midfoot when running on the level, but going down-hill, my mid-foot landing veers towards heel strike.

5:27 am  
Blogger Ewen said...

Good points Canute. From memory the downhill was a little steeper than it appears in the photo too.

Enjoyed your blog on time on stance - very interesting.

10:27 pm  
Blogger Robert James Reese said...

75% age graded is a very ambitious goal! My 5K personal best is just under 72.

11:20 am  
Blogger Ewen said...

Robert, I think you'd get 75% for a track 5000 if you ran enough of them. Experience and 'good race' opportunities counts for a lot. I was stuck in the 17:40 - 50 range for a number of years.

10:03 pm  
Blogger trailblazer777 said...

All the best, and well done on setting a tough goal. I'm going for sub 19, and I chose that without any knowledge of your goal.
I often have a target a target b target c and target this case my target A is sub 19, target B is sub 20 and target C is 20.50 target D is 21.15. That way you can tick off some milestones along the way. but no limit yourself to targets too easy to chase...All the best with it!

8:37 pm  
Blogger Ewen said...

Thanks Jonathon. You definitely have the potential to get the A goal. Plenty of speed in reserve. Your 'D' goal would be my 'B' :)

9:26 pm  

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