A Struggling 10k?

Oct 05

I completed level 2 in my training on Saturday by participating in a 10k race for a local church here. Even without the 1˚C (33.8˚F) temperature and brisk winter wind, it was an interesting experience.

I warmed up well, started out by climbing up a reasonably steep but short hill, and proceeded through what was a beautiful, not-terribly-strenuous walk to complete the first 5k loop. I found that although I wasn’t breathing hard or feeling like I was exerting myself beyond my comfort zone (keeping up with about a 7 on the RPE in my estimation), I was pushing myself beyond my ideal heart rate, and my muscles got very tired, very quickly – which is unusual, as I walk a 10k or more almost every week with no issues whatsoever.

I have been training using the Maffetone method which I love, but I’ve not been using it long enough to get a good speed result from a 10k race, so I decided to ignore all his good advice about keeping within your (much lower than conventional) ideal training heart rate level, and just walk as quickly as I could without getting winded. By the end of the first 5k my feet were numb from the cold and felt like bricks, I was demotivated, tired, frustrated, and feeling generally like quitting. I couldn’t believe it. I warm up with a 5k. This was ridiculous.

The second half was better because I hooked up with the woman who owns Distinctive Catering and we got into a great discussion about my funky shoes (they were quite the hit at this walk) and walking in general and I slowed my pace a little to keep together with her and engage in conversation. This moved me back into a better pace within my ideal heart rate. My pace had moved to about a 5.5-6 on the RPE, and with my feet now having some warm blood circulating through them, engaging myself in interesting conversation, and staying within my hear rate, I felt much better on the second lap – but was still feeling quite tired. Much more tired than my long walks (i.e. 21k) feel. This was odd.

The race ended in the middle of a pretty good downfall of snow, so I didn’t want to hang around much outside when it was over (though I did snag a bagel and had a brief chat with some walkers around the coffee urn…) Because of this I didn’t really stretch properly (what is WRONG with me?) and so for the rest of the day I was tired, achy, and quite uncomfortable.

So, lesson learned. I will take longer to prepare for my 21k so that my aerobic level is at place where I can complete it within my proper heart rate level at an 8 minute/kilometer speed (2.8hr finish time – I’m not too far off). And I will take the time to stretch properly when I’m done.

Live and learn….

Happy walking!


(PS – sorry I don’t have any pics. My hubby had a meeting on in the morning and couldn’t be there to take pictures of my crossing the finish line in the snow… Too bad)

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