Sub 20 minute 5k: how does it feel?

Stadion KS Przyszlosc1

you really won't care what the venue looks like when you hit 20 minutes.

We all want to get that PB down as low as we can. I guess there comes a point though where nature takes over and that PB will never be possible. But then you can just look at your age graded score instead! So there’s always room for improvement by some means.

Even some 60 year olds do sub 17 minute 5k’s. Not many admittedly. So it is QUITE possible.

Anyway how does it feel to go sub 20? That was the question that drew you here.

I will try to avoid reminiscing too much as it was a while ago for me. But you do remember because it is an achievement for those of us that are not great club athletes and never really aspire to be. For most of us as well we know that it is actually quite difficult whilst at the same time we know that we WILL be able to do it if sufficiently committed. It might take a while. But we CAN do it. The question really would be “will I do it?”

But, when you do it, it is a mixture of delight and relief. You’ll probably go up to total strangers and tell them how wonderful yo are for the next 30 minutes or so. Until you get home and then spend the next 30 minutes telling your family and friends how wonderful you are.

The delight and relief probably also come from the pre-20 minute psychology. you know, where you keep getting closer but don’t seem to be quite able to do it. always a few seconds away. Well boys and girls when you are that close it REALLY is all in the mind. We mere mortals can always run 5 seconds faster at our current level of fitness.

So I would say for me it was all of the above. But also there was certainty in there. I knew that it would come with training. So there is also a sense that inevitability also plays a part.

I’m looking at my current goals and I can see that I can certainly eventually achieve those. However I look at 17 minutes, slightly further away. And that is quite an achievement for a less young person. I’m not sure if I’ll ever be able to do that in my fit years that remain.

I would also add that after doing the magical 19:59 then half minute ‘barriers’ become meaningful as well.

You’ll often find it best to think about half minute levels of improvement as milestones in your progress (NOT barriers please! If we didn’t have minutes and just seconds then we wouldn’t even realise the specialness of 1200 seconds). Often once you achieve a milestone then you progress quite rapidly up the next 15 seconds or so. Then back to the training.

Good luck and don’t forget to sweat.

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