It's all about 76's and 77's, and 5:08's instead of 5:11's.
Yes, I'm still trying to limbo under 16 minutes for 5K, and tomorrow's Race for the Cure is my next shot. It's an arbitrary goal based on a near-by even number (16:06 is my P.R.), and with each passing year my two standard attempts (this race and the Tucson 5000 a month later) seem more and more daunting.
Still, this year seems to hold more promise, as I'm doing a better job of trying to nail the coach's paces instead of trying to surpass them. We've also spent more time going back and forth about recovery, and how as I,(ahem), mature, it seems that recovery seems to be of more importance.
Mystery Coach seems to following a Lydiard model of speed-work and sharpening, which started after spending some time on lower-end tempo runs to both build and measure my maximum steady state. This week has included lower-volume repeats of 200-400 meters within a few seconds either way of goal pace, which seems to be doing the job of getting the legs and brain used to the turnover, pace-monitoring and recognition, and the mental work involved in holding faster paces. Today was 6x200 at 36-37 seconds (400 recoveries), while earlier in the week it was 1x400, 2x200, 1x400, 2x200 (all with 400 recoveries) at faster than race pace.
Last week the volume was higher with a 6x800 workout at 2:35, again with 400 recoveries. We followed that a few days later with a 2400M time trial, which unfortunately found me at 5:11-5:12 pace and gasping. This would put me right at my current P.R., butthere was no way I could have held on for double the volume.
As usual, this put me in a bit of a funk for a few days, but after looking over both my sleep schedule and the volume of the workouts it doesn't seem as bad as the results indicate on their own. It's funny how a good week of running (like this week) can make the results of a single workout seem less important.
The plan for tomorrow will be a conservative start and a strong second half. While sub-16 might not be in the cards this time, I'd really like to run the third mile at 5:10 or better. My best on this course is 16:23, and I don't see any reason I shouldn't be able to equal or better that number.
Finally, best of luck to the Boston crowd on Monday.