Lessons from a noob’s first 10k

The only photo I found of myself
This past weekend I ran my first 10k. This was the second race I’ve ever run, you can read my ramblings about my first 5k here.

I prepared for this race much better than the first one. Before the 5k I had only been running for a couple months and I was just doing it every day, outside. Given that I've had ACL surgery as a kid and my knee is already chalked, my body didn't like that.

So after I ran my 5k I had to rest for almost a month to let a lingering hip and foot injury recover. Then, I purchased a nice treadmill and was able to begin training consistently in December 2019 without destroying my legs. I also bought an air bike and ensured cross-training was apart of my regiment.

Given how my 5k went in terms of my heartrate escalation, my goal was to run the 10k in under an hour and actually do it comfortably. So I trained for that very thing. My heart rate would stay at around 150-160 when running between 5.5 and 6.3 miles per hour. It was hitting my goal without killing myself. Then I could go hard for the last couple of miles.

For some reason, that plan flew out the window. I was at the race in plenty of time. My heart rate was great until around three minutes to the starting gun.

Then, for some unexplainable reason. It spiked. By spiked, I mean I was all of a sudden at a 130 before even starting to run. Looking back, I believe despite standing still and breathing calmly, I was far too excited. Before I was even a quarter-mile into the race I was halfway through a mid-2000s Lil Wayne song and my heart rate was at 150. I knew I was screwed.

Despite jogging and keeping around my ten-minute mile pace, the ole ticker kept climbing and climbing. These are my heart rate zones for the race.

Heart rate zones:
  • 1–170 9.3% of the race
  • 170–185 61.6% of the race
  • 185+ 29.3% of the race
I finished in a 58:19 time despite my heart rate being above 170 for 90% of the race. Frankly, I'm unsure how this was possible. It also frustrated me.

My training didn't accomplish what I set out to do. My last mile of the race was my fastest, which is what I wanted. However, the goal was to be able to push my heart rate at a faster speed than normal. Not run at my normal speed with a higher than desired heart rate. 

My lessons from this race are to really reconsider how I train. I need to do more research but I may have to start training at a higher heart rate. Not necessarily at the desired heart rate like I had been. All of this is trial by failure and to be determined as to what serves my body best. 

Either way, I beat my goal time by almost two minutes so I'm happy with the results. This was just as much fun and as rewarding as my first race. Knocked out a 2020 goal early on and ready to keep improving and challenging myself in this area.