Starting Fast and Starting Slow

by Gilbert Keith

I ran the Monona 5-Miler* today with the meetup group. The run was pretty great.

I pushed myself hard early on in this race. The impetus for this was my observation that perhaps I start of too slow for my own good. For instance, for the half marathon, I ran my first mile in 9:45 and at the 5 miler split was at about 46:45. If I had run those at exactly 9 minutes a mile, I would probably have easily made the 2 hr goal. Similarly, I ran a 5k back in 2010, which I finished in about 25 and some change. However, the first mile of that I finished in the high 9s. So if I had run the first mile like I had for the rest of the miles, I could have easily beaten the 25 min 5k milestone (I have yet to break this, but I think I can get pretty close now.)

So, enough pedantry. I wanted to see how it’d feel if I pushed harder at the beginning of a run. I think was doing about an 8:10-8:20 pace. I ended up finishing this 4.8 miler in about 44 minutes, about 2 of which I wasted waiting at intersections for the right to cross.

At the end of the 5K distance (right around Brittingham Pk) I started cramping a little and had to stop to let it pass. Pass it did, rather quickly, and I was back on the trail. But yes, I’m glad I know now that the 5K threshold is the thing to beat. I may just have finished the 5K distance in less than 25 today, but obviously I’ll have to wait until an official 5K for the verdict.

–Gautam

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*5 Miler is an approximate measure. Actual distance is closer to 4.8 miles.

Also, I am le tired now.

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