Five Things I Learned from 10K Training

This is my first post in the Friday Five Linkup with Courtney at Eat Pray Run DC, Mar at Mar On The Run, and Cynthia at You Signed Up For What. This Friday's post is a "pick any five" theme, so I decided to talk about my 10K training since my race is this Sunday.

I started a 10K training plan from Women's Running 11 weeks ago. Here's a shot of my paper version with all my workouts checked off. I shuffled some things around but only missed a single workout (due to heel pain).
I really liked this training plan and learned some valuable things:
  1. Running 5 days a week. I was previously running 4 days a week. This plan showed me how I could fit in runs on 5 days plus do strength training and yoga. I think this is a good balance for me and want to continue this basic regimen.
  2. Finishing strong. Several of the long runs called for a strong finish, where I increased my pace by 30-45 seconds/mile for the last 10 minutes of the run. Speeding up at the end of a long run when my legs aren't fresh is a skill I'll be able to use in all races.
  3. Sustaining an uncomfortably hard pace. My "tempo runs"--in quotes because it wasn't really a tempo run as I mentioned earlier this week--involved running at a near-5K pace for a progressively longer distance. The only times I've done that before are during races, so this was a good practice for me.
  4. Running negative splits. For the tempo runs at longer distances, it was too difficult  to keep that near-5K pace for the entire time, so I would run each mile progressively faster until I was running the last mile at near-5K pace. Again, running each mile progressively faster is a skill I hope to incorporate in not only in my Sunday race but all future races.
  5. Fueling appropriately. Before this training, I assumed I only needed to consider fueling on very long runs. But because I run first thing in the morning before I eat, when my blood sugar levels are at their lowest, I can get depleted quickly--and even got really sick one morning. And even when I started fueling before my run, I learned I get depleted quickly during very hard workouts. To be successful at my 10K race, I know I'll have to take an energy gel both before and halfway through. 
I'm ready and excited for Sunday's race--the Man Up Father's Day 10K on the North Shore. The course is on the trail I live right by and do most of my running on, so I know it well. I only have one goal--to execute the start slow/build speed gradually pace strategy I've been practicing. This will actually be my first 10K race, so as far as time goes, it will be an automatic PR!

See what other bloggers top five lists are today by checking out the linkup!