When I was training for my first marathon last year, I discovered 18 weeks was a long time to try to go without a race. As I set up my schedule this year, I made sure to include two local races and a half marathon in my training plan.
The Sherman Education Foundation has an annual run in conjunction with the Sherman Arts Fest. I ran the 5k the past two years, and even placed 2nd in my age group last year. In the past, they have also had a 15k run, but this year they did a 10k instead. The distance fit into my training plan nicely, I just substituted the 10k for 6 miles of hills. I figured the few hills and the speed wouldn’t short change my training. Plus, I still have three more weeks of running hills in this phase of my training schedule.
A friend of mine asked me what my goal was. I just wanted to break my PR of 53:10 which I set on Memorial Day. She told me to shoot for 50:00. I laughed. I tried a few excuses: I have only run a few 10k races, my confidence was a little shaken from my last 5k (I went out too fast), I ran my long run on Wednesday. She wasn’t having any of that. “Trust your training,” she told me.
I just wanted to better my time without killing my legs.
Saturday morning’s weather was wonderful. It was cool, a little chilly for my family/spectators, but great for running. I took off with a couple of members in the running group, and we ran an 8:23 first mile. I thought that was a little fast, but as I pushed on, I tried to hang on to that pace. My legs felt strong, my breathing was steady, and I found that I was steadily moving past runners.
Completing the fifth mile, I still felt strong – even after a small, but brutal, hill. I bumped it up through the last mile, and finished strong. It was the best I’ve felt during a race in a long time.
Not only did I set a new PR in the 10k, but I blew the old one out of the water by a whole minute and a half. My mile splits were: 8:25, 8:27, 8:19, 8:09, 8:13, and 8:03. Negative splits! What a confidence booster for me! When I sent this picture to my friend, her response was, “I knew you could do it!”
Do you have someone like that in your running? Someone to push you, drive out your excuses, boost your confidence, and cheer you on? It has made a difference in my training and performance, knowing I have someone else checking on me.