I still have more Colder Bolder photos I’ve yet to publish. I know, not a great smile, but I was racing for my life here in my only race of this winter season. Winter races are rare in Colorado, it’s really the time to set plans for the next racing season. Colorado runners typically target peak objectives for races in the fall, especially for marathons. My initial plans are to recover from some strained muscles to where I can run again. Then, I intend to focus on the 10K distance this year. The biggest event around here for the six mile distance is the Bolder Boulder on Memorial Day. I’d like more time to prep but that’s fine. I might decide to switch my training focus to a fall marathon after the Bolder Boulder, or I might decide to continue improving my 10K time.
I’ve been able to run near a 7 minute per mile pace for the last several years, marginally improving each year by a few seconds. I’d rather see more dramatic improvement but it beats slowing down with age. I ran a 43:09 last year for a 6:56 pace. It feels fast enough and I’ve enjoyed some good races. Still, I’m tired of running a 7 minute pace so I’m setting my goals for a 6 minute pace. I’m not totally dissatisfied with the 7 minute pace, but I want to be competitive to win my age division in the Bolder Boulder and a 6 minute pace is what will be needed to finish top three. There are runners my age in this country who can run close to a 5 minute pace. I don’t think a 6 minute pace is absolutely unrealistic for me, although reaching that speed before summer is certainly a stretch. And maybe it is unrealistic. At minimum, it’s probably a multi-year goal, but I won’t ever reach it if I don’t set the goal and get started. That’s a life lesson.
Two high-level plans will be needed to reach this target pace. Faster workouts – ideally interval training of some sort – and losing weight. I don’t really care to lose weight, I’m comfortable at 170 pounds. But there is no denying the impact of weight on speed in distance running. I wouldn’t have to lose much. I weighed 150 pounds in college so I would not have to drop below that. I suspect reaching 160 pounds would enable me to run a 6 minute pace. And this is probably attainable by Memorial Day.
The next trick is adding intensity to my workouts. This is extremely difficult running alone. In fact, it’s almost impossible for me to gain the needed speed without training in a group. It will depend on just how serious I am if I actually join a local runner’s club. I’d prefer to train with some of my buddies. I know Chris is fast enough to give me a workout. Problem is, he’s training for a spring marathon so our training requirements are not aligned. Keith is fast enough too but he complains when I make him run intervals. I sense he doesn’t enjoy workouts that prompt puking. I can probably trick him somehow into running high intensity workouts.
If I do attain a 6 minute mile pace at the 10K, shoot if I could even run that for a 5K, then naturally my next goal will be to run a 5 minute pace. That’s a fairly ridiculous fantasy, but that’s how runners think.