5km… well that was the plan..

Recently a few of us have been discussing whether you could run or row 1km faster… and also in the same conversation, whether it is realistic to run 5km in under 20 minutes (unless you are a ‘runner’)!

Although I have run a marathon (back in 2011), and plodded many a mile in the training run, and have done the ‘Great Midlands Fun Run’ a few times, I didn’t know what my ‘5km time’ was. Partly because I had either run shorter or longer than that, and/or wasn’t using Strava to record my workouts.

So, today without any form or specific training, nutrition, rest, etc I thought I’d give it a go. I did a quick look on Google Maps to see if there were any suitable routes from my house that was relatively flat and didn’t involve crossing too many roads, etc which would kill any momentum. I then considered running in Sutton Park, but felt that I would be too uncertain as to whether I’d run far enough (I need not have worried!)…

I opted for a local running track. A quick calculation later and I had to complete 12.5 laps of the 400m loop.

With a bright blue sky, and even brighter sun, around 20 degrees Celsius I did a warm up consisting of 50 meter walk, 50 meter run, 75 meter walk. and then I was off..

No frills, no headphones, no fans/supporters/spectators, no pacer, no plan…

I spent the first couple of laps getting into my stride, and realising that the ‘home straight’ appeared to have a pretty strong headwind, but the ‘back straight’ didn’t seem to have a wind pushing me along! I tried to keep my breathing in a good place, steady, not to heavy.

I was aiming at somewhere between 20 and 30 minutes, expecting to be slightly north of 25 minutes, with the lower time the better of course!

laps 1 and 2 I was tracking at around 7 minute per mile, which was in my view not a sustainable pace, but I was going with it, and would just try and ‘survive’…

To cut a long story short, I finished in a time of just 22 minutes and 22 seconds…which I could hardly believe, until I realised that I had stopped 1 lap short..!!

By this point my relief of finishing, joy of a better time than I expected, turned to being pretty annoyed at myself. I should/could have checked the distance covered on my watch before I finished, but I was confident I’d counted right, and by the time I realised, I was already swigging my drink and lying down on the track just after the finish line!

If I was to assume that I would get around the next lap in around 2 minutes, I would have completed it around 25 minutes (as hoped), which was a good benchmark time to start from.

In answer to my could I run 5km in under 20 minutes. I would say that I think that I could, but it would probably require a change in focus of my training (reducing upper body / muscle building, and increasing long distance and speed work). My nutrition would need to be focused more on reducing my body weight by around 1 – 1.5 stone. May not be happening any time soon when I had this post run..

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