On Sunday I will be running my first-ever 12k. Guaranteed PR!
It's the .US National 12k, the final race in USATF's USARC pro series. It is going to have some serious star-power, including last year's winners, Aaron Braun and Molly Huddle. I, naturally, will be far behind these elite athletes, and based on last years results would be extremely lucky to break into the top five in my age group.
The course looks to be a little different from last year's inaugural event; it's an out-and-back along the first half of the course. I like out-and-back courses, so that's good. It should also be a very flat race, so that's good as well.
So how fast should I run it? Well, if you take my current season's best 5k, 18:19, and plug it into the McMillan Running Calculator, you get a projected time of 46:15 and a pace of 6:12. That's not a very round number, though. How about a 6:10 pace for 46:00? Is that doable? It'd be a stretch. Last Sunday I did an 8-mile tempo run, albeit on a hilly course, and a 7:00 pace felt pretty tough. 12k is 7.46 miles, so not much shorter.
But I'd like to at least start out at that 6:10 pace and see how long I can hang on. If I'm feeling good at the halfway point I can pick it up a bit for a negative split, or I might end up slowing down a tad but hopefully finishing in a respectable 46:30 or so. If I could do that, then I should also have a 10k PR -- assuming the timing is the same as last year, this race will give the runners splits at 1 mile, 5k, and 10k. A 46:30 is a 6:14 pace, which works out to a 38:45 PR in the 10k.
Tomorrow I'm going to be doing a little track work, so I'll try to hit race pace for that and I should have a better idea how it feels on level ground.
The weather on race day is currently forecast to be around 35 degrees at start time, which might seem a little cold but that's actually warmer than the temp where I got my 5k PR, so that should be just fine. But of course it's still a bit far from the race date to accurately predict the weather.
Overall I'm feeling pretty good, my hamstring which had been bothering me is settling down, and everything points to a good race. Wish me luck!