I clinched a new 5k pr today! That makes a pr in both 5ks that I've run this year. A little over a month ago I ran 22:04, and today I ran 21:11. I told myself that I was going to focus on shorter distances for the first half of this year while trying to build up a base of mileage for fall marathon training, and I'm enjoying the results. Plus, I actually enjoy speed workouts, so I've enjoyed this shorter race focused training. Hopefully, I can break 20 minutes by this time next year. That is a goal that I am setting for myself now: sub 20 by May 2015.
I just read Jack Daniels' Running Formula, 3rd Edition, and hope to incorporate its training principles into my own training. I don't know that I'm experienced enough to throw myself completely into his training programs, as they are very tough; but I hope to do as much as I can while building myself up to that level. Currently, I'm following his 10k training program in anticipation of the Peachtree Road Race this year. Unfortunately, I didn't read his book early enough to start the plan from the beginning, but I already had a base of speed work, so I cut out some weeks from Phase 1, and the first week from the other Phases in order to line up with the Peachtree. So far this focus on shorter race distances is showing improvements, so I'm excited to continue.
I plan to perform this type training again at the beginning of next year as well, and possibly well into the future. We'll just see how it goes. I'm sure that at some point, I'll need to take an extended period of just easy running so that I don't beat my body up too much, but for now it's working. Lately, I've been going two weeks "hard" and one week "easy." I feel that this is helping my body to recover from the growing mileage that is so new to me. The hard weeks are my higher mileage weeks, and the easy week is a week of much lower mileage, while still getting a couple of quality workouts in. For example, I just finished an easy week, so my last three weeks were around 43 miles, 46 miles, and 25 miles. I think this is a great way for me to build up my weekly mileage considering that I have no history of running high mileage, and last year was the highest average mileage training that I've ever done. Even then, I was only averaging in the upper 30s a week for marathon training. That is just not enough mileage to get to where I want to be, so I've been trying to gradually build up mileage. I hope to be in the 60s this fall for marathon training. I'd love to go higher, but I am afraid I won't have the time to run higher mileage. I may try to do a few higher mileage weeks though when my schedule allows. For now though, I'm very motivated to keep climbing due to the improvements that I'm seeing.