An Early Test: Racing A 10K After An 18K Warmup

We had a game plan today. To ready ourselves for our spring marathons my crew entered a local 10k race. We had a game plan today of holding our respective marathon goal paces for the duration of the 10k — after doing an 18k warmup.

On tired legs we reached the start line. On even more tired legs we would finish the race. A barometer to see just how strong we really are at this stage of training. A barometer to see what improvements must be made in order to succeed later.

You learn a lot about yourself in this early phase of training. Can you control your pace? Can you control your ego? Others will pass you, can you resist the urge to chase after them? Can you stay within yourself and stick with the plan? And most importantly, can you finish the 10k despite the nifty wrinkle of running almost double that distance already?

Today I went out too hard. My opening kilometre being a full 19 seconds swifter than intended. I needed to dial it back and appreciate what my marathon pace truly feels like. To risk continuing at this faster pace would mean risking a crash before the finish. Something that has happened to me too many times at the marathon distance. If I am to succeed come May, I must show restraint now.

Today I would finish 40 seconds ahead of my goal. Meaning that I did in fact manage to reign in my earlier speed. Overall my pacing proved decent. Yet it is still very much a work in progress.

It is however, early days. For I have more than 3 months to get smarter with my pacing. Over 3 months to get faster. Over 3 months to get stronger.

Time, in this case, would appear to be on my side. But I know this to be an illusion. Indeed the next few weeks will pass all too quickly. Soon it will be race day morning in May.

At that time we will see whether or not I have been able to transform myself into a better runner. At that time we will see what I can truly do.

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5 comments

  1. Good to see you posting! I love reading them. Nice running as well, not you got me wanting to try that.

    1. Thanks Bill! Very much appreciated πŸ˜ƒ

      If you do get an opportunity to tack on a race like this after a training run it is a really good way of assessing your fitness for a longer race in the future.

      I did find doing the warmup-race to be difficult on a few levels. One was that throughout the warmup I kept thinking “I really don’t want to race a 10k”; the thought of picking up my pace by a good 30 seconds per kilometre when I had set up a nice rhythm was quite daunting.

      Another way the warmup-race was difficult was having to keep my ego in check and not worry about being past in the race. But then that’s a lesson I need to learn for all my races — to run my own race and not get caught up on what anyone else is doing.

      1. There is a race coming up that is a 10K and Half Marathon. I was going to look at the race start times and see if there was some why I could run both. But doing something like this seems like a great challenge!

  2. I’m not sure in what universe 18K counts as a warm-up, but I’m sure it’s in the realm of the elites!

    1. Ha! Thanks NT πŸ˜ƒ

      Truthfully I found it hard mentally. If it were just a basic 28k run, no problem. But switching gears and picking up the pace by joining a race for the last 10k, that’s a whole different ballgame!

      But! Having nailed my marathon race pace on tired legs is a great confidence booster πŸ˜ƒ

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