Monday, June 27, 2011

Your Best Distance?

I need these. 
I think I'm going to run a 5k this weekend. on July 2nd that is a super informal race.  I want to do it mostly because it's on Saturday.  

There are a bunch of kick-a looking 5ks in Southern California on Monday, the 4th of July, but I want to run Saturday for these reasons:  
1) Group bike ride on Sunday will make me sore for a Monday race and I don't want to miss it!  
2) I don't want to stress all weekend about running a 5k.  I want to have the option to overdose on diet coke and Say Yes To The Dress on Sunday night.  Hopefully while enjoying the glory of my PR!  
3) I want to set a benchmark ASAP to work off of
4) If I really want to run another one, I'll just run two in a weekend!  
Yay America!   

Am I overthinking this?  
Yeah.  For sure.   Why?  
Because 5ks scare the bajeezus outa me.  

They are fast, painful, and reminiscent of high school cross country racing frustration.  And I don't think I'm very good at them and I don't do them often.  My adult PR is a 21:18 and I know I can do better. I've always felt like I'm best at the half or full marathon....if there's one thing I'm good at, it's plowing through long sustained uncomfortable situations (both in running and in life), and I think that translates.

 However, the Runners World Race Predictor Calculator doesn't seem to think so.  

For a long time, I've thoughts that these race predictor calculators are kind of wacky.  When I typed in my 5k PR, it predicted two times on the distance extremes that I think are off the wall:

Best Mile:  6:24
Best Marathon:  3:23:55

uhhhhhh really?  Please find me a 3:23 marathoner who can't run a 6:24 mile while hopping backwards on one foot in their sleep.  

I don't mean to knock a perfectly free service, but why does it seem so inaccurate?  I tried another race calculator that more closely predicts my times, but still is a bit off and predicts a faster marathon off this fairly mediocre 5k I ran on little training in early 2010.  

So I wanted to get your thoughts on two things:  

1) What do you think your 'best distance" is?  

2) Have you had the same confusion with the race predictor calculators?  Are they BS or am I just complaining too much?  :) 

PS:  Everyone who entered the Bachelorette giveaway is a genius!  Almost everyone still has their top 3 in the running !!

(On another note, when I read this post again, I worry that it sounds egotistical or overly race time obsessive. My apologies if I'm coming off this way...)


  1. I'm grumpy, and not very cool, but I'm still going to say that trying to decide which 5k to run this weekend is a whitegirlproblem :D (Thanks to eatdrinkandrun for teaching me about those!)

    I find it likely that you will PR, you are on a good PR-streak this year.

    We are getting out of Africa tonight so I will be less grumpy in my next comment :p.

  2. First of all, I'm really jealous that running a race in July is even a possibility for you. It's way too HOT in Houston. Most people (myself included) would die of a heat stroke!

    My trainer and I were actually talking about the perfect distance this morning. For me personally, a half marathon is the perfect long distance race for me. It requires training but it doesn't take over my life like I would imagine marathon training would. I think 5k's are just FUN so I'm excited to see your PR (because I know you will)!!

  3. I don't think I could do a race in July! I did my first half on Aug 1 last year in Chicago and thought I was going to die!! That being said, I think I do my best in half marathons. I've only done half marathons and 5ks so far but I'm not fast and 5ks kick me in the gut!! Good luck on your races!

  4. it's so funny how people judge their times because for me, my best 5k time is 29 min. that is so slow to so many people, epecially bloggers, but to a lot of people, that's great. I work with a running group helping people start running and if they could get a 29 5k, they'd be ecstatic. The same, if I could do a 5k in 21 min, I'd be ecstatic :)

    I think speedwork is helping me with getting faster because at one point, my half marathon pace and my 5k pace were similar. I know that's silly, but I just don't like to be uncomfortable so I didn't like pushing myself for short distances. I'm getting better for sure.

  5. I find those pace calculators to be inaccurate too. I use it as a guide, but not take it too seriously.

    I love half marathons. I think those are my best distance. The 5k is fun sometimes but also Reminds me of cross country. I'm more for endurance than an all out sprint.

    Enjoy the race!

  6. I'm pretty new to running, so I don't think I have a favorite distance yet, but I seem to dig the half distance - long enough that it's REALLY pretty impressive, but not so long that it kills you. 5K's are dumb and stupid - who wants to sprint for 3.1 miles?! :D

    You can interpret that as I suck at running fast and succeed at running long distances slow :D

  7. Awww I completely agree about those stupid race predictors. They make me absolutely crazy and are so incrediblu inaccurate for me.

    You should definitely do the 5k. 5k's are hard because we push ourselves the entire time but they are also a great test of fitness.

    I'm not sure what my "best distance" is but my favorite distance to run is 10k. Long enough to get in a rythm and not too short that I feel like I am dying the entire time.

  8. Like Anisa, I'm a huge fan of those shorts. I think my step-dad maybe has a pair that looks just like them when he ran in the 70s-80s! love it!

  9. I know what you mean about those calculators. Weirdly, I think the 5K is my best distance. I have yet to run a marathon or half in the time my 5Ks tend to predict--I'm always slower on the longer distances. Working to change that...

    Good for you doing a race this weekend. I'm using my marathon training as an excuse not to.

    I actually once had a state-of-Texas pair of shorts just like those...I wouldn't wear those now any more than I'd run in just a bra...

  10. I think for me I have come to terms with being a 10k runner. For one thing I have low blood sugar that gets horrible when I run long miles and it can be a pain in the rear to deal with, another reason I just love variety of lifting weights and running...when training for a shorter distance I can lift weights a little more then I could when training for a longer distance.

  11. Those are CRAZY shorts. Ok, so the Run Less, Run Faster guys predict the following times based on your 5k PR of 21:18...
    10k = 44:38; 13.1=1:38; 26.2=3:27
    Now if we plug in your marathon time of 3:35, you get a 5k=22:10.
    Not sure what to make of all that...

  12. I find the calculators accurate for distances that are closer together. So Half Marathon to 5 miles I've found to be accurate. I would bet mile to 10K is close, too.

    Oh, and thanks to your last post with the TM treadmill paces, I ended up doing half my 800 repeats at 1% and, while it was harder, it felt more like a proper interval workout rather than my legs flying around with just an "eh" heart rate increase.

  13. okay, u should def do the race! pace calculators can be iffy and whichever one u're looking at is whack like crack. i think a better gauge is to look at your most recent workouts. taking the mile repeats you've done i'd say you can EASILY break your PR and should shoot for more like low-mid 20 minute range. a 6:40 pace would put you in at 21:42, so if you want my two cents i'd say start out at 6:40 and try to cut down every mile. just don't go out too fast would by my suggestion.

    as for treadmill vs. outdoor workouts, i do my treadmill runs at 1.5% but 1% is prolly close enough. good luck out there! oh, and i kid u not there was a dude who used to wear a pair of shorts like those exact same ones every single flipping year at the local 4th of july run when i was growing up. if u do decide to don those shorts, one up him and wear a sparkly blue/red bikini top with tassels on it. do katy perry proud.

  14. Yes, get that 5k out of the way so that you can totally enjoy the rest of your long weekend.
    Long bike ride on Sunday with a group sounds like heaven to me.

    Look at Alma's 10k time is EXACTLY 44:38, that is very strange. It's such an odd number.

    OH and PS I need those shorts too.

  15. I am going to be in Socal this weekend and was thinking of doing my first 5k on the 4th! Only becuase there are so many races to choose from. You should do both Saturday and the 4th, and get the shorts! haha

    And one of my picks for the bacholette (Blake) was sent home. So sad, only cause he is amazingly hot!!

  16. I think my "best distance" is 4-6 mile runs, I really like those because they are past a 5k but not a super long run either. I seem to do my best running on those runs.

  17. back in high school coach matt did some sort of calculation to project my 800m time based on my 2 mile time. as a result i was entered in that miserable race several times before he realized he should have just divided my time by 4.