Slow and steady vs. quick and short

I almost titled this post “slow and steady vs. hot and dirty” but thought that might send the wrong message (though it might’ve gotten me more page views, LOL!).

My point here is this – how do you condition your body to be able to run a quick/short race versus a fast/long race? Is that even possible? Or do you have to choose your battles? I’m thinking you have to choose your battles and here’s why.

I ran a 5k with Scott this morning in preparation for a last minute decision to run a 5k in our hometown on Thursday afternoon, mostly just for fun since a few friends are running it too, but partly to get back into “race” mentality. All part of the master get-ready-for-this-half-marathon-its-coming-whether-I-like-it-or-not-plan. So anyway, I was totally hoping/anticipating that I’d knock that 5k outta the park, running it fast and without any problems whatsoever. I mean really – 3.1 miles is nothing compared to the longer distances I’ve run lately, right?

Well – I was partially right. I did run the 5k with ease, picking up the pace as best as I could throughout, but my body clearly wanted to go back to the slower, steadier pace partway through as I clocked in at my usual 30 mins or 10 min/mile pace. Which isn’t bad, don’t get me wrong. I just had this anticipation that I’d come in faster – maybe 28 mins or so (which is still slow by any stretch!). But the more I mulled it over, the more I realized that my body is just conditioning itself to run longer and a little bit slower to ensure I can go the distance. Definitely not a bad thing – in fact, it means my training is working.

That’s not to say I still hope to run this 5k on Thursday at a quicker pace than today. I’m glad I did the test run though – now I know exactly what I want/need to do on Thursday to come in under 30 mins. I need to start strong and stay strong. 3.1 miles be damned – I got this. 😉 <—pep talk ‘o the day, ha.

Going back to my original question – I do believe that you need to choose your battles when it comes to conditioning your body, running-wise. Choose a goal, first and foremost.  If you want to run your best 5k ever – stick to sprinting drills and shorter training runs. If you want to run a longer race, say a half-marathon or a 10k – stick to longer distances at a steadier pace, slowly upping the mileage week-by-week.  At least, that’s what seems to be working for me so I’m sticking to it.

Look at me – talking like a real “runner” or something. How did that happen?!?