Monday, April 29, 2013

The 5K Distance

Post Pikes Peak I feel good, and fast.  I really enjoy working down in distance.  My next race is the Swarthmore Outdoor Track Invite on May 13, though apparently it will be held at Widener University this year, where my cousin Drew is!  Drew is one athletic guy.  Every time I visit him I enjoy watching him playing basketball.  I can't play basketball to save my life, so I just enjoy watching!  Drew actually finished his first 5K recently, and he placed 3rd out of 150 runners!  Not a bad way to start at all!

The 5,000m is a race that has helped me improve a lot in the longer distances.  I have proven myself wrong that I can be pretty darn good at it, but I am also not surprised either.  Any race that is primarily aerobic I will be stronger in, and the 5,000m is still roughly 80% of aerobic energy being used.  The 10K is about 90% aerobic, and anything longer than 10K like the half marathon or marathon is obviously pretty much 90-100% aerobic.  When you drop down to a 1,500m or 1 Mile race, however, the aerobic energy required has dropped to 50%, with anaerobic energy completing the other 50%.  *Note: These percentages can vary based on pace.  They are referring to the optimal energy breakdown for a very high-level trained runner.  Someone who's mile PR is 8:00, probably is using higher than 50% of aerobic energy for the amount of time required to complete that race.*

One of my goals to become a better distance runner is to maximize my VO2Max, or Aerobic Capacity.  The best way to improve VO2Max is by doing 3,000m-5,000m(or a 10-15 minute race in duration, which for many is about a 2 mile distance) interval training.  10K racing still uses a significant portion as well, but the closer to 5K for a highly trained runner, the better.  The energy being used for the 5K is still primarily aerobic, but it is at the absolute maximum power it can be used.  This creates a more stressful feeling of ventilation vs longer distances of over an hour where ventilation is more calm.  This is also why if your breathing is uncomfortable in the early stages of a half marathon race, you are going out too fast, and will be forced to slow down.  Although VO2Max training is ideal for a race distance of about 5,000m, it is still an important part of development in the longer distances.  This is because aerobic energy is being primarily used for these durations.  Pretty much anything less than 3-4 minutes of all out racing is not really going to relate much to longer distance, and ideally, 10 minutes or longer is primarily using our aerobic system(s) for energy.

Having said all of this, if you want to predict your marathon time, going out and running a 5K all out is not going to give you an ideal prediction as much as running a half marathon does.  Still, the marathon, as I have learned, is a much different event than the half marathon, and is almost a separate event entirely.  Thus, there is no question that VO2Max training relates more to the half marathon distance/or shorter.

On Wednesday I did a very nice short interval training session, which I will build off of this week.  I did 10x400m with 1-2 minute rests, averaging 65 seconds a piece.  While 65 second 400s are not my 5K race pace, doing 10 of them faster than race pace improves my Anaerobic Threshold.  This level of work is above the amount of energy required from the aerobic system.  For a runner of my pace, anaerobic energy is about 20% used in the 5K, which is why this is important.  10% is used in the 10K, and less than 2% in the marathon.  However, this week I will do the more critical part of 5K training: longer intervals of 800m repeats, which will be closer to my VO2Max/5K race pace.  Still, these will be quite fast, but probably no faster than 2:15 a piece.

Training 4/22-4/28:

Monday: AM: 11 Miles

Tuesday: AM: 7 Miles

Wednesday: PM: 3 mile warm up, drills,
10 X 400m w/ 1-2 minute rests: 67, 66, 65, 65, 65, 63, 65, 65, 65, 64
3 mile cool down

Thursday: AM: 3.5 Miles

Friday: Rest

Saturday: Long Run: 18 Miles

Sunday: AM: 10 Miles

Total: 58 Miles

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