It’s now almost exactly 3 years since I started running. Since getting a 5k PR last May of 19:29 and then hovering below that ever since (with the exception of a 19:28 PR in that same race this year) I figured I had reached a natural limit.
This year my focus has been on increasing my distances. I haven’t really done much in the way of speed work, and I really haven’t been running particularly fast in my regular runs, but somehow I’ve still been just as fast as last year and even managed a 10k PR by 16 seconds in addition to my 1 second 5k PR last month.
6 days ago I ran the President’s Cup Night race and ran a 19:44 5k on a humid night. Last night it was hot, and this happened:
A PR by 13 seconds (on the chip time)!
Now, I did run this race last year but I can’t really compare to then because at the time I had been sick and still didn’t feel great (last year my time was 20:04). This year I felt good, and even said to a friend at the start line that I may even get a PR.
What can I attribute this gain in speed to?
Could it be one of these or a combination of them?
- Perhaps it’s the increase in my weekly mileage;
- Perhaps it’s the core strengthening work I have been doing with BodyPump and Bodyflow classes;
- Perhaps it’s the focus on form – during the race last night I tried to pay attention to how I was running and forced myself to lean forward more and make sure I was picking up my feet even when I was tiring;
- Perhaps it’s my more relaxed approach to races – i.e. I’ve been worrying less about how fast I can do it even to the point where I try not to look at my watch during a race;
- Could it be that I’m faster in the New Balance Minimus Road Zero (I raced in these a lot last year, but haven’t until now this year)?
Alternatively it could just have been the increased aerodynamics from taking the clippers to my hair on Saturday:
Here’s a great photo of me in full flight on my way to my PR: