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Pick two: Surface and Distance

  • Part A (Surface): Track

    Votes: 7 46.7%
  • Part A (Surface): Road course

    Votes: 5 33.3%
  • or

    Votes: 2 13.3%
  • Part B (Distance): 5k

    Votes: 5 33.3%
  • Part B (Distance): 4 miles

    Votes: 1 6.7%
  • Part B (Distance): 5 miles

    Votes: 3 20.0%
  • Part B (Distance): 10k

    Votes: 4 26.7%
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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
This is a poll.<br><br>
I missed a 15k tune-up race last weekend due the blizzard. I'm rearranging the plan this weekend to include a time trial.<br><br>
My question is this: For those who've done time trials as a fitness test, what is your preferred surface and distance?<br><br>
Surface (Part A): Track or road course<br>
Distance (Part B): 5k, 4M, 5M, or 10k<br><br>
I have one training partner recruited and possibly one other. It's going to be an early run on Saturday morning. The farthest I've raced on the track is 2M.<br><br>
My first inclination is to run 5k or 4M on the track. Not sure I can handle longer. I have a good 1.5M road course, with the 400s marked, so that would be the option if run on roads.<br><br>
The poll is multiple choice. Please choose one each in parts A and B. Thanks!
 

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So if you're on the road, you have to do circuits of the 1.5-mile course? Meaning a sharp turnaround? You can't find something longer that's flat? You mentioned marked 400s, so I guess you're not using a Garmin...<br><br>
As a marathon tune-up, I'd think you'd want to at least go 5M. That's deadly boring on a track. OTOH, if there are other people at the track, that can provide a better context than a road.<br><br>
Personally I'd do just about anything to avoid a time trial. I'm constantly amazed at how hard scheduled speedwork is, say 6M at HM pace; sometimes it seems near impossible. But by definition I can run a half at that pace, more than twice as far! Of course the difference is context. And a time trial is lacking it.<br><br>
I'm making do with a 5K race on Saturday. Not ideal, but better than nothing, and more meaningful (for me) than a longer time trial.
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
No Garmin here.<br><br>
Yes, the 1.5 mile course is a loop, but it does require a 180 degree turn in order to repeat.<br><br>
Yes, this effort is meant to be a race. My intent is to measure my fitness and place the result on the VDOT chart or into one of the calculators. I'll base my forthcoming training intensities on this result.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Yeah, but I'm in class Saturday. That would be my first, and logical, choice for a race this weekend.
 

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Roots,<br>
I can go either way on this one. If no race is available, I would TRY to do something longer on the roads...the problem is that the longer you go the harder it is to simulate a race when you're all by yourself (I'm constantly amazed at how hard a 6:00/mile pace is in training but how slow it feels during a 5k race!). SO - if you're flying solo, I would definitely recommend a 5k on the track to try and keep you honest. If you've got a good road course and someone to push you, go with the 5M or 10k on the road (but the multiple 180 degree turns stink and might make me choose the track). If your road course is flat and you don't get the test of running hard up & down hills, you may as well stick with the track and run there with your buddies.<br><br>
I'm in a similar situation - I was supposed to do a "race" of sorts with 40-50 people this weekend (5 mile run with staggered starts based on projected finishing times and you try to chase people down) but I can't make it. What I'm thinking of doing is a track workout where I run 1-2 5k's on the track and try to cut down the time each time. The most I've ever done is 3x5k and I DEFINITELY needed music to run to. It can be boring, but I liked having the feedback every 200m.
 

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I picked OR <img alt="biggrin.gif" src="http://files.kickrunners.com/smilies/biggrin.gif"><br><br>
I prefer to have someone else run the time trials - Like watching the womens' marathon trials 4-20<br><br>
Ok - I really prefer a 4-5 mile time trial on the roads.
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
It could be argued that a 5k is more difficult than the longer distances. For sure, the max heart rates achieved in the 5k will be higher than in the longer distances, providing discomfort not familar to most marathon trainers. I'm not shying away from the 5k race -- merely using as a tool to measure current fitness (VDOT level.)<br><br>
Good luck in your 5k.<br><br><br>
Thanks, Chris.<br><br>
My road course has a decline and an incline to it, so I like beter for specificity of training in the marathon race.<br><br>
I concur with you with use of the track for the constant feedback it provides.<br><br>
My only race so far this year was a 5k on Feb 19 in 19:19 (VDOT 52 on the chart). The 5k was in less than ideal conditions in 19F temperature on a course with two hills. Naturally, I expect to improve a notch since that performance.<br><br>
I am lightly raced at the 5k distance, so I'm leaning towards that. My PR is 18:47, so shooting for that mark could be the inspiration I need for this trial. <img alt="smile.gif" src="http://files.kickrunners.com/smilies/smile.gif">
 

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Oh, yeah, in a sense it certainly is more difficult. The shorter the race, the higher the pain level. I hate 5Ks. But the time will be less useful as a marathon predictor than a longer race. OTOH - when I won a (small!) marathon in November, I had to run the last mile at almost 5K pace... I never would have imagined that was possible.<br><br>
Thanks. And good luck in your time trial.
 

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I chose 5M....mostly meaning at least 5 miles. I would never trust a 5k to predict marathon performance. but I am the suck at 5K
 

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From the choices, I would go with 5 miles only because it is fairly long, and not a typical race distance. If you are going to do a 5K or 10K time trial, why not just run a race? 5K is too short to be real accurate for predicting a marathon. 10K can work if your training has been very marathon specific. I think at least 15K (not one of the options you listed) is the way to go. A half marathon race would make sense, if you can find one within the next 1-2 weeks. Otherwise find an accurate road route of 9 to 13 miles and run a time trial.
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
Thanks, Sue. I'm not using the trial to predict marathon time. Rather, I'm using the result as a level of current fitness to dictate or confirm my current training paces.<br><br>
Ideally, I wanted 15k race but the recent blizzard nixed that. As a comparison, last season I ran a 10 mile race 7 weeks out from the marathon. I used the VDOT chart to set my training paces for the impending workouts.<br><br>
Yes, an actual race is my first option but my schedule does not allow. The plan was 15k last weekend but the weather hampered plans. Now I am making due with a time trial. With the harsh winter here in NE Ohio and limited races this early in the season, I am making due with what's available.<br><br>
Once again, I'm not using any race to predict marathon performance. I'm using this race/trial to dictate my intensities for upcoming quality workouts. In my experience, my race performances in the "shorter" races (5k to 10 mile) indicate I could run a much faster marathon. I have already learned that my race performances don't accurately "predict" my marathon time. Otherwise, I'd have run a 2:54 by now.<br><br>
As for the longer time trial, I'm not sure I can hold a race pace in a solo effort without others around.<br><br>
Thanks for the input!
 

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15k is the perfect option. I'm not sure I could do a 15k time trial on my own, I'm sure on my own, I'd fall back into marathon pace. Heck I've found myself drifting to marathon pace in a half marathon race! But I believe the longer the better for roots.<br><br>
come on roots.......go for at least 4....do I hear 4?!!!
 

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Solo I would go with 8k on the track. With someone to run with my choice would be 10k, also on the track. Although many might disagree, I do believe that the 10k can be an excellent predictor of marathon fitness, especially if your training mileage is good.
 

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I'd prefer running on the track at the shorter distance. For me, it's easier to adjust my pace when splits are taken at 440yd/400m intervals. Even if quarter-miles are marked on a road course, it's still not as easy to judge the distance between them as it is to judge your location on the oval track.<br><br>
Dan
 

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Discussion Starter · #17 ·
Gah! After hearing about Jim's solo 8k (10k with help) I feel like a slacker.<br><br>
I've never raced 8k. In my area, there are several 5 mile road races and I have done a few. It would be a PB, but I'm not sure about 20 laps in this effort.<br><br>
We're running early. The 5:45a start is not enthusing me to go longer. I'm not sure I have the fortitude to do much more than 12-16 laps at race effort. We'll see.
 

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If it will make you feel any better, I've never been able to come close to actual race time doing a solo trial.<br><br>
Here's an idea that might not be ideal as a marathon predictor that I believe can help you a lot fitness wise and have some predictive value:<br><br>
Do a long warmup of about 4 miles, starting slow while gradually working into your normal easy pace. At the beginning of mile 5 start your 8k time trial (more of a hard tempo than all-out race effort). When finished, jog an easy lap, then run 11 more laps at your normal easy pace--not a jog (it <b>won't</b> feel easy, btw). Try not to take breaks between segments either. What I like to do is set my water down on one of curves, scooping it up and drinking on the run when needed. Set it back down when finished. Hard core, heh?<br><br>
Effort wise you will have done something very close to an actual 15k race, and get a few extra miles in the process. What I have found is that whatever pace I can hold for 8k this way is almost exactly what I can do in a 10-13 mile race even though it doesn't seem possible during the workout.
 

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Well I hope your time trial went better than my 5K, roots. My time was 20:43, more than a minute slower than expected (~19:30), by far my worst 5K. Way too slow for a 10K, even. Very demoralizing.<br><br>
And then... it turns out the course was 3.3 miles (oops). Which means I ran about the pace I planned. Still would have been ~20 seconds short of a PR, but it's the first race of the season, and the course was a bit hillier than I expected. My PR was on a dead-flat course (which I suspect might have been a tad short). So, overall I guess I'm satisfied... doesn't really do a lot quantitatively to help set my Boston target, though.
 
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