How do you set a goal? Last Tuesday night, I ran a 5k around the neighborhood at 32:30. I was quite pleased with the 10:27 pace. A bit better than I thought I would be actually. Honestly, I think having my new Garmin Forerunner 610 really helped here. I was constantly checking my current pace and then pushing myself a tad more if my pace was above 10:30. At times, it was up to 11:00 (like on the minor elavation gains or the times when I was just daydreaming), but when I saw the pace, I immediately tried to keep it steady at a lower pace. It worked time and time again. It was just the right amount of "goal" that I needed to keep it up.
Now, on race day, what should my pace be? Obviously, I can do a 10:30 without too much of an issue. Taking into account the adrenaline rush (which would encourage me to go out fast, but may make me crash near the end), I certainly don't want to go out at a 9:00 pace! I'm simply not ready for that! But, I still feel that I could push myself a bit more than 10:30. Afterall, I do have another 3 weeks before the race to play around with this time....thats another 6-7 5K runs total (if I continue to run 5K distances every Tuesday and Thursday, which is my intention). I also plan on using the elliptcal at least twice a week (unless I use it just once a week and do some sprinting the other day).
So, lets say I can get that down to 10:20 comfortably....will the adrenalin rush of race day allow me to run at a 10:10 pace? A 10:00 pace? Remember, I did run 2 miles once in 20 minutes...although I was gasping for breath afterwards! :)
Of course, I know that if I let adrenaline push too far, too fast...I will go out at a 9:00 pace and then crash after 1 mile, so I know its somewhere in between. I wonder how people determine this....or is it simply based on race experience.