The official site for this year’s Nike Women’s Classic Run is up, so I now have a date to work towards: June 15. That’s seven and a half weeks away. They’ve changed the location this year though. We’re doing it out at the Olympic Park. Hmmm, I wonder if that means there won’t be as many hills. (There’s no course map yet, so I can’t check.) Hills are my nemesis.

In other training news (Coach), I decided to work the fartlek training some more last weekend. I jogged for five minutes to warm-up, then started alternating four minutes of hard running (well, hard for me, anyway) with one minute of walking. To my amazement, I finished the 5K in 36:30. That’s a new personal best, I think. Hell, it’s five minutes faster than I did it a week ago! I couldn’t believe it. And that’s with the treadmill on a slight incline, too! I guess part of the problem with the treadmill is that I know exactly what my pace is, so I tend to set it there and not push myself. With the fartlek though, I just concentrated on running as hard as I could for the four minutes.

Okay, so the fartlek raised my overall pace. Does that mean should use this technique during the race? Or is it just for training purposes? Because I gotta say, breaking the distance up into small chunks is mentally a lot easier for me right now. Whaddaya think, Coach(es)?

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  1. well, usually interval training / fartleks are used to increase overall pace (i.e., your ability to consistently run an x-minute mile at standard pace, vs. “fast” pace in chunks). However — I’d say it really depends on what your overall goal is. Is it to finish a set distance in x time? Or is it to continually improve your “standard” pace — so that in time you could finish the 5k in x minutes while keeping a consistent, faster, pace throughout.

    You don’t have to decide right away — but I’d alternate “steady” days with interval days, and see if your pace is also improving on the steady days.

    And by steady, that does not necessarily mean running for all 5k — you may want to still run 4 walk 1, or 8 /2 etc., but you can track your steady days against each other (rather than against interval days) to see a measure of your “standard” pace improvement.

  2. How about going a doing a few test runs as well out at Olympic Park? Or do you want to be a virgin Olympic Park Runner on the day?

  3. Thanks for the info, Stefanie. And that’d definitely be a good idea, Anonymous. I’ve never been out there though, so I have no idea where we’ll be running til they post the course.

  4. The entire Olympic Site is pretty flat. If I remeber rightly there is only one hill out there and that is for cosmetic purposes as its man made as a meeting point. Its actually a very nice place to run or ride around.

  5. Great time, Kris! I’ve been running intervals a lot lately and I am always surprised at how good my times turn out (“I really ran THAT far in 30 minutes?”). It’s definitely a good strategy–and just think of me feelin’ your pain over here every time you practice.

  6. Ah, sweet. My friend Kevin told me this morning that he too thought it was pretty flat. The Domain has pretty scenery, but those hills around Mrs. Macquarie’s chair just kill. I’ll be glad not to have to worry about that.

    Another question for the runners: I remember last year that one of my big problems was WATER. I tried to hydrate well before the race, but as it turned out the only aid station was near the start. So I had water at the beginning and end, but I got pretty parched in the sun during the middle bit. They claim they’ll have more this year, but I’m just wondering if there’s anything else I should try. Do you guys drink while you’re running? I know three miles isn’t far enough to invest in a Camelback or anything. Should I just work on running the distance without extra water? How do you effectively hydrate yourself before the race? Many questions…

  7. My standard distance is approximately seven miles, and I don’t take water with me in winter, since drinking enough beforehand usually suffices. In the heat of the summer when all is sweaty, on the other hand, I try to drink two or three mouthfuls every two miles or so. This either means i) The victim of my affection tags along on a bike with water or ii) I have to run with a bottle, which is irritating, but doable.

    Running in warm weather does run a greater risk of causing dehydration, and the sponsors should act responsibly on this front.
    As for pre-race hydration therapy, don’t drink too much (as in gulp down a bucket) in the hour before the race; you’ll feel bloated and unwell. If you want to rehydrate yourself, start doing so roughly an hour after your race-day carbohydrate rich breakfast (you’re running, Atkins will survive one day of you not trying to kill yourself), and don’t gulp down gallons. Take a cup, fill it (water is best – glucose drinks are gimmicks best suited for temporary bouts of hypoglycaemia), and take regular small sips for as long as you feel comfortable. Keep it up this way for an couple of hours, well, until your urine runs clear!

    Ultimately, it depends on the person, but for this distance (and I am a slim fellow who loses plenty of juice) I might not drink at all provided I feel hydrated beforehand, so if there are actually water stations, then you should be set without having to plan for your own ground crew.

  8. Another thing that I’ve found useful for parched feeling in short distances is to chew gum during the run. I’m not sure if this is a generally accepted runner thing, but especially for runs of 1/2 hour or so, it keeps me from getting a seriously dry mouth. Of course it’s not hydrating you at all, but from a comfort perspective it helps me!

    And — if you are interested in carrying water while running, I find those waist packs a bit irritating myself, but like the water bottles that are sort of oval donut shaped, to form a handle — they’re a little more comfortable for me to run with than a standard plastic 500ml water bottle.

  9. I suggest just trying lots of different things and seeing what works for you; obviously different things work for each of us.

    Like Alastair, I have to be running for a much longer distance to bring water along (like 10+ miles). Like Stefanie, I don’t like having things around my waist while I run, so if I do bring water, I’ll carry a disposable water bottle to throw away half-way through, or run where there are water fountains, or carry the back-pack style camel back (which is really meant for cycling, and jostles a bit much while running). I’ve tried the gum thing, and while I’m normally a big gum chewer, chewing while running did not go well for me at all.

    I seriously recommend running more outdoors, and longer distances. If you know that you can run 5 miles comfortably, you know that you can easily do 5K. I also find that while on a treadmill I’m very focused on the running and the pace and the distance, while running outside, I just relax and think about everything (or nothing) else. It’s much more enjoyable for me that way.

    If you’re well hydrated when you start the race (drink lots of water and no – okay, very little – caffene or alcohol the day before and morning on the race, stopping 30+ minutes before the race start), you’ll be fine during (a bit dry-feeling, but nothing dangerous).
    And Alastair mentions his carb rich pre-race breakfast… I can’t eat a thing before a race; for an 8 am start, I have to be sure to have an early dinner the night before; breakfast that morning is unthinkable. But everyone is different.

    Once again, relax and have fun. Remember what you do and how it makes you feel, so that next time you’ll know what to do or not to do.

    (Wow, this post has gotten very long; sorry!)

  10. Well, I do know the feeling; my carb-rich brekkie was more for a run in the afternoon – my butterflies would just about kill any notion of eating for me if a race started any earlier!
    So do the donut bottles actually hold anything? I’ve seen people with these here (UK) and just thought that they were awfully small on the volume side – or are they more of a mouth wetter than a thirst quencher?

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