Friday again, which means race pace miles. Today's goal was to run a 5k up at the high school track. The pace was to be the goal pace for next week's 10k. If I can't run a 5k at 6:25 pace I am unlikely to run a 10k at 6:25 pace.
5k is 12.5 laps of the track. 6:25 pace is 19:56 for 5k, or 1:35.7 per lap. I planned to run 96 second laps. My previous fastest 5k was 20:38 (6:38 pace) so this was a big jump - but I am way fitter than I was when I last ran a 5k.
Weather was pretty much perfect for a fast run: Cloudy, no wind, cool. Warmed up for 1.5 miles, including a few sprints to get the legs moving.
Lap 1: 88 sec (that's 5:54 pace) - way too fast
Lap 2: 92 sec - still too fast
Lap 3: 95 sec - more like it
Lap 4: 93 sec - uh-oh, speeding up again
...went thru the first 1600 in 6:08
...and the first mile in 6:10, my fastest mile ever
Lap 5,6,7,8,9,10,11,12 were all 95-96 seconds
...so I had found my 6:25 pace
Lap 12.5 - kicked it in 43 sec (5:46 pace - ouch!)
Overall Time 19:38, 6:19 pace.
It wasn't a flat out effort (although the last half mile was), and running those second and third miles at 6:25 seemed OK on the track. Could have probably run 6:25 further (especially if I'd started on pace).
So where does this leave me in terms of readiness for a sub 40 minute 10K?
McMillan running calculator shows a 19:38 is equivalent to a 40:47 (which would be a 56 second PR for me). A 40:00 10K would be equivalent to a 19:15 5k (6:12 pace). My all out 5k in a race should be faster than 19:38, but probably not as low as 19:15.
So that means on a good course, and a good day, with a good performance I should be able to go under 40:47, and if things went perfectly raceday adrenalin may get me down close to 40 minutes. Getting under 40 will require some significant planet alignment next Tuesday (especially given the fact that it is not a fast course - has some rocky parts, and is usually windy).
So I will go for it. Try to get through the 5k mark in 20 minutes with good pacing, and then spend the second half trying to catch the people who are ahead of me, or if things aren't going so well, spend it trying to stay ahead of the people behind me.