Tuesday, August 9, 2022

5K Race Predictions vs Reality

This past weekend I ran the Mahomet 5K race. I've done it several times so I have a feel for the course, but I don't run may 5Ks so I never know what finish time I should aim for that is realistic. What's a guy to do? Well, I turned to technology and sought out predictions from Garmin (my GPS watch), Stryd (power pod), and Runalyze (run software). Here were their predictions:

  • Garmin: 21:16
  • Stryd: 22:59
  • Runalyze: 24:06

Those predictions are not exactly hovering around a central time. Three minutes in a 5K race is enormous. In the past, I feel Stryd has been most accurate. Based on my recent test runs on the course, I figured I could run 22:00. Something between Stryd and Garmin predictions. I finished in 22:20. Good enough for 9th overall and 1st in age group (50-59). When done, I felt I could have run a little bit faster. Think my idea of 22:00 flat was within reach. Next time! 

Funny how my Stryd critical power was updated right after the race (from 291 to 302 Watts) and my Stryd predicted 5K finish time is now 21:58. Improvement! I enjoyed running the race by power instead of pace or heart rate. The course has three distinct sections each for about one mile--long downhill, long uphill, then rolling finish. No giant hills, just steady inclines. Running by power allowed me to focus on effort rather than pace. Would have been hard to keep a steady pace for the whole race, but steady power was within my grasp. I'm already looking forward to my next 5K race (Sept 24) and now have an updated power target. The September race is a cross country route at the University of Illinois arboretum. Hilly grass course. Again, pace will not be a good way to measure my effort--I'll use power. 

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