Sunday, October 28, 2012

An exceptional 5000

The track season is now under way, so there are many opportunities from now until March to improve my 5000 metre times. I raced my first 5k on 18 October, four days after the Melbourne Half — don't try this at home! Energy levels were fine but my calves were less so — having a mild case of DOMS. In respect to their tenderness I decided while doing a short warm-up to run 'steady', not flat out (as if I could!) and be happy with a hard tempo effort.

I lined up with 14 others next to Roger A on the outside of the curved line at the 200m start. Only four would run the 5k (the rest doing the 3k option), so for me it was a rather sparse race. I can recall chasing 3k runner Carinna in the early laps and after this a couple of others in the 3k who were slowing following fast starts. I ran by feel and a little flat-footed as pushing off the toes was hurting the calves. I clicked my Casio at the km splits. What's amazing about my race is that I ran the most even kilometre splits I ever have in a track 5000 — 4:40, 4:37, 4:38, 4:38 and 4:38 for a final time of 23:11.20. I must have run over 100 track 5ks in the last 30 years, so to see numbers like that is amazing. I'm glad I wasn't able to sprint the last 200 metres! Average HR was 147, so pretty high for me for a race in which the legs were doing it fairly easy. I'd put that down to not being fully recovered from the Melbourne Half.

The lesson: even pacing in distance races works and is an efficient way of running a fast time. We know this as in the many world record attempts since the first sub-4-minute mile the pace-makers have always been asked to run even splits in distances from 1500 metres to the marathon. The only real-world problem is that very few average runners race this way. They always tend to start fast, drop off the pace in the middle and have a fast finish. Still, I'm going to try and use the elite marathoner's pacing method in my 5000 metre races this season — run relaxed and evenly for the first 20 miles (3-plus k) and race the last 6 miles.

Enjoying a recovery jog at the Vets' handicap this morning. Look at that green grass! We've had a wet winter.

12 Comments:

OpenID canute1 said...

As you imply, split times in world record breaking distance races confirm that these races were run with either even or negative splits. Psychologically it makes sense since even when running an even split, the first two thirds usually feels relaxed, and the final third is more exciting than painful. Physiologically, with an even or negative splits acidity only begins to compromise muscle power in the final stages. But there are some tough nuts like Pre who relied on being mentally tougher than their opponents. However it appears that characters like the late Sammy Wanjiru and the contemporary Wilson Kipsang are beginning to apply the Pre approach to marathons. It worked for Kipsang in London in April but not 4 months later on a warm August day.

12:37 am  
Blogger Lize Brittin said...

Nice consistency in the splits!

I'd love to move to your end of the world right about now. It's just starting to get cold and dreary here. How I wish summer were right around the corner!

11:09 am  
Blogger Ewen said...

Canute, that's a good point about even splits - it felt like I was running faster as the race progressed yet the split times were the same. Kipsang's uneven running in the Olympics may have cost him the gold - made for an exciting race to watch though!

Lize, I can sympathise - our winter was long, cold and wet. Loving the longer days and warm weather now - perfect for running :)

8:16 pm  
Blogger Jaymee said...

Metronomic pacing, Ewen! Excellent work.

2:34 am  
Blogger jen said...

Congrats! Amazing pacing. I ran the exact same time this weekend in a 5k- we've always been pretty well matched pace-wise. But my splits were NOT even. I wish! Well done.

2:42 pm  
Blogger Ewen said...

Thanks Jaymee. Hey, it's about time you updated your blog! Hope you're doing well.

Wow. That's a good time Jen - hasn't been long since the baby arrived. Wish we were well matched in marathon times - very jealous of yours!

5:02 pm  
Blogger Luckylegs said...

I saw those amazing splits in your other blog, Ewen....I want to run like that one day!

10:53 pm  
Blogger rinusrunning said...

Thats a good pace and you now, slow makes fast and a goor ultra marathon runner start slow and than fast.
Good job Ewen.

5:07 am  
Blogger Thomas said...

That's very impressive, I have never come even close to such even splits in a race.

6:10 am  
Blogger Ewen said...

Thank you Luckylegs. You will if you keep practising ;-) I want to run like you are in another 30 years too.

Thanks Rinus. You're an expert at starting slow and finishing fast (feeling slow at the start is the secret). It works well in races from 100k down to the 800m!

Thomas, you did pretty well in Dublin on the weekend. 1:37 at the half and 3:14 and change at the finish. I'd take that!

9:12 pm  
Blogger RICK'S RUNNING said...

i hope you have a good track season and that long green grass doesn't get in your way :0]
Nice pacing for your first 5K.

12:40 am  
Blogger Ewen said...

Thanks Rick. No grass on the AIS track, only the one down at Calwell and the cross country course at Stromlo - the kangaroos help with keeping it down out there ;-)

5:57 pm  

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