Running Through Covid

A funny little thing happened on the way through the lock-down. I set a new PR in my most hallowed distance - the 5k. My 5k time is the hardest for me to break because I've spent the most time training for it. Chipping away at it, year after year after year. Not to mention I'm only getting older, now north of 40.

Covid changed many things, but among them was my attitude toward training. Instead of training hard - track workouts, long runs, and endless tempos. I worked out mild to moderate, never taxing myself too much, rather consistently, nearly every single day. I didn't think it was smart to tax my body too hard amid the virus spreading. Instead, I opted to stay strong with moderate running and nightly yoga sessions of 10-15 minutes to help my sleep and optimize recovery and health.

My weekly mileage went up though my runs were all easier and shorter. I used the runs as daily check-in to see how my body was doing - any sign of getting sick? Much to my surprise, I was starting to run really well. I broke a 10k record without really trying, then again, then again. My 5k times were dropping and getting within striking distance of my PR. I broke 19 minutes for only the second time ever, and then again.

After two years of trying, I broke my 5k record, by a lot. I'm now the proud owner of an 18:32 PR at an age of 40. Not bad!

This has made me reevaluate my training. Am I just riding the coattails of a bunch of great pre-covid winter training, where I was putting in the long runs and the hard tempos? My "base" training off-season was really strong, including a 50k in November. No doubt that factors into my recent performance. But my body tells me that it's more about consistency and slow aerobic-zone training, and it's changing how I think about training.