Two weeks to a 5k PR….?????

After a fabulous weekend last weekend with my girls in Oklahoma, this week was one in which I came crashing back down to earth!


The mystery illness we all got in Oklahoma wiped me out for two days. I struggled into work both mornings but in the afternoon, I literally went back to bed with my Dude and we watched movies and read books. I wasn’t eating much, and when I did eat, it was mainly toast. On the plus side, I was lovely and thin and my stomach was pretty flat! #silverlinings

Wednesday was good. I was feeling better, which was just as well as I had my toughest day teaching preschool since I started! So I really needed a run after work. I kept it very VERY easy as my legs were still heavy from Post Oak and I wasn’t 100%, health wise, but I enjoyed my 3 slow miles. That evening, I worked out my 2 1/2 week training plan for the Oakland 5k and the game was on!

Until the Dude threw up spectacularly all over his bed!



The past three days have been a bit crazy, juggling work, babysitters, studying and, most of all, snuggling my little sick boy. He’s not deathly…he’s perfectly well for hours on end, bouncing off the walls with energy, and then a fever hits and he’s hot and mopey. I was planning to run on Friday evening but totally caved in and sat on the sofa, knackered, with wine. I did manage to get out yesterday to run some intervals but the wind was so crazy that the numbers don’t really tell me anything except ‘headwind’ or ‘tailwind’.

Which leaves me with two weeks before Oakland. Two weeks to somehow pull a PR out the bag. Part of me thinks it’s impossible but part of me thinks all I have to do is run a teensy bit slower than I did at Crissy Field and I’ve achieved my goal.

I have two potential goals for Oakland. A) PR of 24.49 or less. B) Sub-25 (24.59). I have chosen the carrot I’ll be dangling in front of myself – some very cool grey and neon capris from Target (I’m so fancy) but I have decided that if I get either goal I’ll treat myself to them. If I don’t, I will not buy them. And I LOVE grey and neon so it’s actually motivating me. I’m so shallow.

So my plan is to run in three day stretches until the race.

  • Day 1. Intervals.
  • Day 2. Easy.
  • Day 3. Tempo.
  • Day 4. Rest.

This gives me roughly three and a half cycles, six speed sessions. I have no idea if this is enough, if this will work, but I’ll bust a gut for two weeks and see what happens.

In addition to training…

  • I’ll be focussing on my diet. I’ve given sugar up for Lent (which I’ll talk about at some point) but it has REALLY cleaned up my diet and has made such a difference. I want to eat more like an athlete and less like a hobby jogger.
  • I also hereby commit to doing abs work at least five times a week over these two weeks. It may be too late, but I’ll give it a shot.

Okay. Two weeks. Seven speed sessions. Let’s do this. 

9 Comments Add yours

  1. Jen says:

    I’ve been thinking about the Oakland 5K as well. Compared to parkrun, it will be faster because we’ll be on paved roads instead of gravel. However, with all of the turns, there’s a good chance we’ll run longer than 3.1 miles. Plus there’s that GIANT hill at the end. Hopefully race magic will kick in and we’ll have perfect conditions!
    (Also, I hate to be the bearer of bad news, but it takes 3-4 weeks for physiological adaptations to occur, meaning it’s too late to actually get substantially fitter. However, the mental aspects you can still work on, i.e., increasing your tolerance for discomfort…which, as you know from reading Matt Fitzgerald’s book, can make a huge difference on race day!)

    1. Cathryn says:

      I know you’re right. I think I can make SOME progress in two weeks but the big challenge will be the mental fight. You’re right about the course benefits/concerns. TI but that’s also going to be day 2 of my period and that makes a difference physically and mentally, my gut feel is that THAT will be a deciding factor. I’m adding in a) a decent warm up, which I didn’t get for park run, b) a gel beforehand c) music and I’m going to be working hard on my mental game.

      That hill at the end though…I can already see myself struggling up it, watching the time tick over. Definitely need to work at that. Trying to think about how to strategise the race, given that hill.

  2. dlubi says:

    You got this!!! Take advantage of the added strength from the recent hilly race & keep working hills! Since you started the hill training already with the Oklahoma race, keep it going! Strength work helps with speed as well – especially hills because they force you to utilize those glutes. If you have access to a treadmill or a hill that takes 30s to climb, do hill repeats on your interval day. I’ll send you an email with a hill workout I use!

    Also work on a mantra or something to keep focused on race day – mental strength is just as important as physical strength.

    1. Cathryn says:

      Thank you!! I could def do some hillwork…thanks for the email. And yes to the mantra! ‘Target leggings’ may not be quite as profound as is needed when suffering.

    2. Cathryn says:

      Thanks!! I’m going to give it a great shot anyway! Thanks for the email as well BTW.

  3. gracechua31 says:

    Oh no – poor little Dude! I know it’s different but you’ve got the fitness left over from Oklahoma, and you have the mental boost from those parkruns – you’ve already practiced the 5K race distance and drilled it down so your body knows what to do right away. (I often run 5k, but race it?..hardly ever.) So, hit it with your best shot! 🙂

    1. Cathryn says:

      Exactly. Best shot!!

  4. Layla says:

    Dangling carrots sometimes really work! I let myself buy a new shirt (which was on sale but still stupidly expensive) that I didn’t really need after accomplishing my long run on Saturday — which was HARD when I stopped home at mile 14 to refill my water and had to leave the house again. I also find that being registered for a race will work mental wonders (hence why I got up early enough every last week and today). So, you have both of those things going for you!

    You also have the endurance from Post Oak, so that means you most definitely CAN run about one-fifth of that amount, even if it is uphill. You’ve got this!

    1. Cathryn says:

      Thank you!! We’ll see what happens.

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