Beating my 5K PR

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Do you remember when I mentioned that I ran a 5K a few weeks ago?  I ran it with my bestie Courtney who is moving to Seattle in a few weeks; my favorite thing to do with Courtney is do go on a long run and chitchat the whole way. I’ll miss that the most when she’s gone. So we ran this race together as our last one before she moves.lillie's friends 5k-5In addition to getting to run with Courtney, it was great for another reason. But first, a little background on my racing history.

My first-ever race was a half marathon. And then a 5 miler, a couple of 180-mile relay races, a few more half marathons and an 8K. Then, two years after my first race, I ran a 5K. I didn’t train specifically for it because, well, how would I train for a 5K? I’d been running distances over 3 miles since middle school.

Since the distance was a gimme, I just went out and ran the 5K (in 13 degree weather at 11:30 PM at night…but that’s another story). I ran it in 25: 56, an average 8:21 pace…and I was thrilled.I couldn’t believe I ran that fast in those cold, late conditions. I started to wonder…what if I actually did some speed work? How fast could I go?

Well, I don’t really like speed work so it never really happened. I kept running obviously, some long distance races, some shorter. And right before I moved to NC from Utah, I ran a 5K in my hometown. On 4 hours of sleep and during a less-than-friendly time of month. After not running for about 2 weeks. I ran it in 24:58, an average 8:03 minute mile.Granted, it was a really flat course but I was still floored at my time since my half marathons all hovered around a 9 minute pace. Yes the distance is longer but I truly thought it was a fluke whenever I ran a sub 9-minute mile. But I was starting to see a pattern: given a short distance and a little adrenaline, I can go much faster, even with these short legs.

So, fast forward to the most recent 5K. I beat my PR by a long shot: 22:30, an average 7:15 pace. My splits? Mile 1 – 7:33, Mile 2 – 7:39, Mile 3 – 7:02. And the best part? I  still felt strong and relaxed at the end. I felt like I could have pushed harder.


I even took 2nd in my age group!

Did I consciously train for this 5K? Nope. Did I do track repeats? Nope. So what did I do? Over the past past 6-12 months I’ve:

  • been running occasionally with people who are much faster than I am
  • lost just a little weight
  • switched to Vibrams
  • changed my Garmin to lap every mile instead of doing a total pace average (so I could more easily see exactly how fast I ran each mile, which is really motivating to me).

The result: two and a half minutes cut off my previous best.

So, now I have a new goal: beat my 5K PR again. I’d love to get it under 22 minutes. The top overall female winner ran it in 21:10, an average 6:49 pace…and suddenly that doesn’t seem quite so far out of reach. I was the 2nd place female in my age group, but maybe, just maybe, with some conscious speed work and some real dedication to a shorter distance, I could win top overall female in a local race. And that would be freaking awesome.

Do you enjoy shorter or longer races? To me, any race is fun to run, regardless of distance. I definitely prefer training for longer races over doing speed work, but I think I’ve had a change of heart. My current half marathon PR is 1:57 and I’d love to beat that PR too!

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    65 responses to “Beating my 5K PR”

    1. Whoohoo! You’re a speed demon, Lady! I did a lot of speedwork last year to make a goal of 2 miles under 14 minutes. I did it, but it was tough cookies. I think I enjoy running a little longer and slower, but it was really fun to push myself to new speeds. Can’t wait to follow you on your goal to sub 22! You can totally do it.

    2. Speedy girl! I prefer longer races because I don’t feel pressured to be FAST. When I run 5Ks I get all worked up because I feel like I HAVE to go fast because it’s ONLY 3.5 miles. I can’t handle the pressure!

    3. Congrats on your PR! I bet with some speedwork you could beat it a little more too! I think running with faster people is such a great way to get faster. I always push myself more to stay with the faster pace. I love training for longer races, but 5Ks are so fun because they’re short and fast.

      • i can’t decide if 5Ks are fun because they are short and fast or painful because they are short and fast! 🙂

    4. Woo hoo!! I love 5k’s. They were my first race from back when I joined the XC team in high school…. back when 3 miles felt like an eterrrrrrrrrrrnittyyyyy. 🙂 My PR is 23:40 but I have a lot of confidence that I could beat that PR if I did a 5k today because of how much training I’ve done over the last 6 months. Plus, losing a little weight really makes a difference!

      • With all your Les Mills-ing, I bet you’d be so fast! I’m think RPM has helped my speed a TON!

    5. Holy amazing!!! That seems SO incredibly fast to me. I’m definitely in the 10min mile clue. I’m so excited for you!! I also love that you PR’d in Vibrams. 🙂 Great job girlie!!

      • thank you! for training runs, medium distance is my favorite. 5-7 miles is perfect! enough to get into a groove but not too long that it takes up the whole day!

    6. i enjoy longer races now… i ran cc/track all the way through school til i graduated from college so i’m kind of over the under 10K races. now it’s half marathons & marathons all the way! i do think it might be fun to really train hard for a 10K or 5K sometime though, but i do prefer the long run 🙂

      • i can see how you’d get sick of the shorter distances! I think it’s so cool you were on a team. I bet you had to work SO HARD! good for you! I’m sure that work ethic and knowledge totally helps you for the longer distances now.

      • thanks! 🙂

        I think about that sometimes when a run is dragging on – if I speed up, it will be over sooner! 🙂

      • thanks salah! Seriously, a garmin is SUCH a good investment. You can get them pretty cheap now since they still sell the older versions.

      • haha! Yeah, I didn’t realize at the time that it isn’t normal to do a half for my first race!

    7. You are such an inspriation with your running and your speed! and dont take this the wrong way, but you are such a tiny short little thing that I was SO impressed with how fast you are.

      Congrats and love you.

      • oh thank you! made my day to hear that I inspire you! oh my gosh, I think that all the time! I swear I take 2-3 steps for most peoples single running stride! I still can’t believe that I can go that fast being so short!

    8. you are awesome girl! i’ve only done 1 5k and it was walking. i want to train and run another one and really push myself. then i want to take a leap of faith and run a 1/2 marathon in the fall. you are an inspiration 🙂

      • thanks!! you could totally do a half! Start gradually building up your distance! you’ll love it!

    9. Wow! Good for you, you’re speedy!

      How did the switch to Vibrams go? Did you have to start really slow running in them? Would you use them for a longer race?

    10. Nice work on the PR, Teri! 5Ks are super hard, but fun to see the work pay off. I love that pic of you and your b.f. As a shorty as well, I always find that everyone else looks uber tall next to me. 🙂

      • I never realize how short I look until someone points it out or until I’m around someone else that is equally as short and I can look them straight in the eyes! haha! shorties unite! 🙂

    11. woww great job Teri!! And this is really random, but last week I met my fiance’s friend’s fiance (don’t know if it makes sense) and you girls look sooooo alike! no wonder I kept thinking that she seemed familiar 😛

    12. That is so awesome! Congrats!!! Just found your blog, it is great! I am really happy for you on your PR. That is so exciting.

    13. Nice job!! Congrats to you! My favorite distance is a 10-miler or half marathon. Full marathons take too much out of me, and 5k’s seem a little too quick.
      How do you like your vibrams? I’ve been running in NB Minimus and definitely partially attribute my increase in speed to them as well!

      • I absolutely love my Vibrams! I have wanted to try a more in-between shoe that is more substantial than my Vibrams but less than my Asics. Good to hear you like the Minimus – I’ll have to check them out!

      • i’m glad you liked the little tips! I also swear that RPM (Les Mills indoor cycling program) helped too!

    14. You are so speedy! Congratulations on getting second place in your age group, that’s awesome.

    15. congrats!!! that is awesome 🙂 running with people that are faster than you definitely helps, i miss my old lab mates! i think i like shorter distances, but i’ve only done one half and a couple of 10milers… just signed up for my first 10k, which should be interesting!

    16. Whoa, that is unbelievable!! I’ve never been a fan of speed workouts. I like your plan to increase your speed! Now I just need to get a Garmin. 😉

    17. Where are you headed next, geographically? Seems your hubby is about to graduate … Are you staying in NC?

      • we are actually staying in NC! My husband graduates in one week and he just got a job offer at a company in Winston Salem!

    18. I said it before on Twitter – but it deserves saying again. You. Are. A. Rockstar!!! I’m so impressed with your speediness. Especially because you didn’t do anything specific to train for it besides being consistent with workouts. Love that!

    19. You rock!! I have only run a couple races – 2 5k’s, and 1 half marathon and I am kind of slow. I am happy if I can average 9:15 on my 3-4 mile runs that I do. I have been running for less than 3 years, but like the challenge. If I didn’t my knee I would have run another 1/2 last year, and would be considering training for a full right now – but I will stick with my 5 mile max for now. Looking forward to hearing more running and food stories! Glad I found your blog!

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