Because I run using 2:1 run/walk intervals with the Galloway group, I've been trying to run non-stop during my mid-week runs, even if only for 2 miles, so my body doesn't forget what that's like. I've taken walk breaks during all my recent races ever since I started using them during training because they help me run faster and finish strong without as much fatigue. I vary the frequency of the walk breaks--and sometimes the length, usually 30-60 seconds--depending on the distance. I know that I can run the 5K distance non-stop, but I am afraid to try it at a race because I may not clock as fast a time as with the walk breaks.
This afternoon, I ran home from work and then around my neighborhood to cover 5K. I did it in 38:16. I ran practically non-stop, with only 2 30s walk breaks after mile 1 & 2; I think of those as water stops on a race course, so they don't really count. I was not really going to try to run fast at all; I just wanted to cover the distance without walking, and I am very happy with the outcome.
Below are my amazing, and consistent, negative splits:
mile 1: 12:50
mile 2: 12:37
mile 3: 11:39
finish (.12): 1:11 (10:07 pace)
overall average pace: 12:16
I am thrilled that I managed to sustain such a fast pace on a non-stop training run of this distance. I don't really feel like I pushed that hard either; I was just running at whatever pace felt good. I can't believe how fast I ran that last mile--almost a minute faster--but I really pushed it then after seeing how well I was doing and how good I felt (and because I wanted to finish already). I think the cool weather really helped. I also ate about 1/2 a bag of sport beans before I left work, so maybe they really kicked in at the end. I tell you, these things are magical and delicious. I now know I have it in me to run a 5K race non-stop (save for the water stops) in under 35 minutes; I just need to be patient and push myself at the next few races. If I can do this in training, I know I can do it even faster at a race with good weather.
When I got home from the run, I check the mail box to find my new RaceReady LD Fitness shorts with mesh pocket and singlet with snaps for a racing bib. I can't wait to try them out at my next run. They feel super comfy.