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Mother Runner SBS Training for a Fast 10K

IMG_2069Despite it being surprisingly chilly (the mid-50s) for mid-June here in Portland, my BRF, Molly, and I have sweat flying off our foreheads as we rip off the second of eight strides. We’ve already covered six miles this Friday morning, at a leisurely pace that allowed our conversation to range from the adorably charming characters in Me Before You (I’d seen it the night before) to her family’s recent stand-up paddleboard adventure. We sprint roughly 100 yards from one stop sign to “the back of that green SUV” or “that port-a-potty.” Not exactly racing, but not not racing, either.

Less than 20 steps into our third stride, a fluid feeling of energy floods my core and pours into my legs; without conscious intent, I surge forward. We slow as we reach a parked pick-up truck, and Molly says with ever-so-slight awe, "You have gotten a lot faster, Sarah." We laugh as we catch our breath before starting another stride.

I hope Molly is right: Next month, I’m racing a 10K for the first time in seven years. My coach, Bri, subtly planted the idea after I completed the Boston Marathon, saying I had developed more speed in my legs than I knew and I should test it at a 5K or 10K. Not wanting to ricochet from one end of the distance spectrum (26.2) to the other (5K), I landed on a 10K. I chose the Twilight race in neighboring Vancouver, Wash., after another mother runner informed me every participant gets a burrito and two (2!) beers at the party after the 6:15 p.m. race. (All organic, natch, since this is PacNW.)

So after recovering from the marathon while maintaining enough of a base to accompany a friend on a 20-mile training run, I switch to honing and polishing speed. Last Wednesday, for instance, I warmed up for 15 minutes, then alternated one minute of building to good turnover with one minute easy. For the main set of the workout, I did 4 x (2:40 at 8:00-8:15 pace, 2:20 easy), then 2 x (2:40 sub-8:00 pace, 2:20 easy). Trotted 15 minutes home.

PicFrame
Running like there's no tomorrow..really. That's what it says on my shirt.

I mentally chunked up the workout, taking each 2:40 piece as it came my way. I repeated my this-new-training-cycle mantra, “fast feet!” and leaned forward from the hips to get some help from gravity. Magically, the two faster segments felt easier and freer than the 8:00-8:15 ones. I felt truly euphoric as I went through the de rigueur dynamic flexibility drills post-run.

Looking back over the last week of training for a fast 10K, I realize something had shifted, and I’d found a sixth gear. The gear I slipped into during those strides with Molly. I hope I can rev my engine the same way on July 9 at the evening 10K. I’ll be gunning to maintain an 8:00 pace over the course of 6.2 miles. Slower than my 10K PR (47:37) of seven years ago, but for a 50-year-old broad coming off a 4x-fractured ankle, I’m beaming with pride and optimism.

If you want to run the Twilight race--either the half-marathon, 10K, or 5K--you can save $5 by using code amr616 when you register

9 responses to “Mother Runner SBS Training for a Fast 10K

  1. dynamic flexibility drills!!! good luck on your race! I have a half that same night (LOVE night time races!!) but I’ll be putting along at my <140 heart rate! I'll send you my speed!

  2. Ahhh…..takes me back to when my daughter was little and we had a plan worked out where I would get up and run sprints up and down the block until she woke up and raised the blind in the living room which was my “sign” to stop. I guess I was “on” to something way back then (she is now 29!)- yes, those speed works definitely give one results! I will never see my sub 7s for a 10k anymore, but I have great memories and am hoping for sub 10s at my next race! Best of luck!

  3. Ahhh…..takes me back to when my daughter was little and we had a plan worked out where I would get up and run sprints up and down the block until she wok up and raised the blind in the living room which was my “sign” to stop. I guess I was “on” to something way back then (she is now 29!)- yes, those speed works definitely give one results! I will never see my sub 7s for a 10k anymore, but I have great memories and am hoping for sub 10s at my next race! Best of luck!

  4. So fun to read about your new challenge! Also, thanks for posting the link (again!) to the dynamic flexibility drills — I keep forgetting to bookmark it! Have a great race, and please report out on the burrito and beer in great detail!

  5. I love listening to or reading all your training processes. The pictures of you are awesome, you look super fast.

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