Today I did one of the most satisfying, but challenging and tiring, 5Ks so far -- at around half the speed of my PB of 34 minutes -- that is 5k's in 60 minutes.
What is he taking about?? - I hear you say. Well today I was the "tailrunner" at my local Parkrun. I started way behind everybody else - and soon discovered that the slowest "runners" today were indeed walkers - one of whom had very recently had a baby. So they were out for a chatty 5K stroll- which is their right So, wearing running shoes which are not very good for walking ( almost no heel support) , I decided I would jog along behind them as they walked. Turns out they walked quite slow -- around 12 minutes per klm - so I jogged behind them using quickish and smallish steps , the whole 5K. I have previously told my wife that I wouldn't take a sweat towel because I would probably walk most of the way -- but as it turned out this "run" was quite a tough workout. It was very difficult to continue to run at that very slow pace -- but I did it. During the run, I noticed that my breathing was almost normal, I could easily talk -- but the strain on my leg muscles was considerable.
Most training plans for longer runs (even 5K training plans) often call for "long" runs at paces up to 2 minutes per klm slower than race pace. - and I have never really been able to do this , and mostly I do train at paces which are a bit too fast (no injuries yet but the potential is there) . But today this situation forced me to run very slowly - it felt right and I am going to use it once per week to increase distance and time (on my feet) to build endurance.