During one of my interval runs, I had managed to get my 5k time down to 27:09. That included fast running, but also some recovery run. So I suspected that I could probably improve on it, if I were to do a sustainable fast pace for the entire 5k. With Mondays being my tempo run days, today was the day to put that theory to the test.
27:09 is 5:26 per km, so I intended to push myself to stay at (or below) 5:20 for the duration of the run. It's amazing how easy these things sound when you're just playing with numbers in your head, as opposed to being out there pounding the tarmac.
At first Ms Garmin was showing a pace of 6:30, which is my normal training pace. I was definitely running faster than that. And sure enough, after a short while she changed her mind and showed an improved pace. Am I the only one who find that the pace display at right when you being to run are always somewhat pessimistic? I guess the only way she can calculate the pace is by taking an average over a short period of time, so maybe it's just because "short period" is longer than my patience, so that when I check first, it still includes part of the warm up walk. Anyway, at the end of the first km she told me my pace was 4:57, so definitely faster than my target. Definitely also faster than what I could sustain for 5km, but I thought I might keep it up for 2 km, and then give myself a km to recover before speeding back up again for the last 2 km.
Biggest surprise was when I slowed down to recover. Turned out that my recovery pace was around 5:20. Normally 5:20 would be fast! for me, but after having run even faster it didn't feel too bad. So I pushed myself and tried to stick to that pace for the rest of the run. Towards the end I did get a bit slower, and there just wasn't enough energy in my system to speed up. That's probably a good thing - I wanted to be as fast as I could, so having energy left over would defeat the objective.
The end result was 25:49, a full 80 seconds faster than previous PB. Although my legs were tired, there was a definite happy spring in my step during my cool down walk