Almost two years ago, I started running 5K races. I had never been a runner and had never run a 5k, so I set a goal for 2016 to run 12 5Ks in the year and break the 30 minute mark. I hadn’t run since middle school, but when I did run I was quite fast just over the 7 minute mile mark. When I started off running and was barely under the 10 minute per mile mark, I couldn’t believe how slow I was and how hard it was to run that fast. What had happened to all that speed?
I trained halfheartedly the first part of 2016, with multiple trips and excuses complicating the training schedule. In August of 2016, I buckled down and started training in earnest running 20-25 miles a week with my oldest son Jake. The beauty of running with Jake is that I had to work to keep up with him since I don’t enjoy being left in the dust. He is significantly faster than me, so this was a huge win for me from a training perspective.
Our first race of the 2016-2017 season was early in September and it was a scorcher. I was pumped up and ready and he was apathetic and dressed in pajamas and skate shoes. I ran my heart out and broke the 30 minute barrier. I was thrilled! Meanwhile, Jake crushed the race and won his age group. I ended up placing 4th in my age group, which was a huge triumph for me.
By the end of the year, we had continue to whittle away at our time. Jake got his down into the 21 minute range and I got my 5k down to 28.5 minutes. Hitting both of my goals, the time and quantity were huge wins. Sometimes though training, and life, is all about the small wins. Over the course of the year, we had littles wins at each event. Race after race, we chipped away at our times and built confidence. When it comes to training, little gains add up into big wins. Don’t get discouraged if you’re only seeing small movement in your times. Overtime, you will see just how much you have gained.
This year we’re working on our time and adding distance. We won’t be running as many races, but that’s okay. My goal was to be able to run a mile under 8 minutes and I finally did this in April, but now need to extend that pace out two more miles. We plan to add in a 10K sometime this fall, which still seems daunting to me. This time of year, it is difficult with the weather to coordinate our runs, but we cannot lose focus or the 10K will be painful. And yes, sometimes it is okay to have one of those days where getting out of bed feels like a major triumph.