Had to think about it, didn’t you?
For many of us, it’s been over a year since we’ve toed the line at an actual, goodness to gracious in-person road race. Sure, there have been virtual races, but that rush of adrenaline that comes with the starting gun of a real live race isn’t something that can be shipped to you free with your registration fee, along with your finisher medal and T-shirt. For that, you need the real deal.
Let’s look forward to the summer and fall of this year. As vaccines roll out and a (hopefully slow, cautious, science-based) return to normalcy takes place in the next few months, the in-person road race may be making its triumphant return as well.
So, sometime soon, you’ll gather at the starting line at your favorite local 5k. And what a great feeling that will be, butterflies fluttering in your belly, selfies posted on Instagram, visions of grandeur in your head as you see yourself crushing your personal record. The starter’s countdown begins: “runners on your mark, get set, GO!”
Then, you’ll run a crappy race.
You’ll still have a good time because you’ve just run your first actual race in a year. It’ll be one of the best bananas you’ll ever eat. The plastic cup of beer will be the best beer you’ve drank in a year. You’ll even put on a good face for the post-race pictures.
But you’ll be disappointed because you ran a crappy race.
It turns out, binging Tiger King and maybe squeezing in a run or two does not lead to PRs. Turns out, making a kickass sourdough boule does not lead to PRs. It turns out; the quarantine lifestyle does not lead to PRs. As runners, we’ve been fortunate to run throughout quarantine, but honestly, how many of us have actually trained during quarantine?
Turns out, watching the world slowly crumble around you does not lend itself to following a structured training plan.
So, to avoid that crappy race feeling, let’s actually start training and get that PR.
Beginning on Sunday, March 28, Run Club of Malden will be hosting SPRING AHEAD with RCMalden, an 11-week program to help you build speed. The program is designed to improve shorter race distances such as 5k or 10k but certainly will help runners who have long distances in mind.
SPRING begins with a baseline 5k race. This will be a casual, lightly supported race (think group run, but with a water stop and timekeeper - not police barricades and registration tents). This will show what the Tiger King Sourdough Training Plan has done for you (hint: nothing good).
We then will proceed with a nine-week training program, including one in-person track session per week. RRCA-certified coach Joe LeBlanc will lead the weekly track sessions and design a personalized program for runners to follow on their other weekly runs.
It’s important to remember that “fast” is a relative term. To you, Eleven Minute Miler, that young lass busting out 8-minute miles seems impossibly fast. Your goal, Eleven, should not be to beat that youngster. That’s an unreasonable goal and counterproductive. Better would be to strive to become Ten Minute Miler, Breaker of the Thirty Minute 5K. We all can get faster.
Post-race bananas are quickly consumed. PRs stay with you. Let’s get one!
Photo courtesy of Netflix.