Based on my own personal race predictor calculator (as discussed in my previous post), I should be able to finish this weekend’s 10K in 49:58, just under the 50 minute barrier. Most of the online race predictor calculators believe I can do even better than that.
So, do I play it conservative and only focus on breaking 50? Or do I go for broke and try to do even better, breaking the 8 minutes per mile average pace barrier as well? This would require running the race at about 49:30 or so.
There isn’t really that much difference between the two strategies, really. The conservative strategy says I need an average pace of just about 8:02.6 and that’s very close to breaking the 8 minutes per mile barrier already. In reality, once I am running, how I feel early in the race tends to dictate what I do and this almost always pulls me to the more conservative side in terms of strategy.
Why? I run almost all of my training in a Maffetone style. This means almost all of my runs are run at a very easy pace, almost as slow as I can run or jog while still actually running or jogging as opposed to fast walking. So, when I race, I am running at a pace that is very unfamiliar to me. This is where perhaps there is some value in doing a little bit of speed work, just to become familiar with how running at race pace feels prior to the race.
In the 5K that ran last month, I was a little uncomfortable running faster than I had in a long time. But I got a PR out of it. I accomplished this with zero speed work in the past 3 months. So, I have not changed my training in the wake of this accomplishment.
Assuming things go well, and even if they don’t, a full race report should be available sometime this weekend.