I recently rebooted my training and joined a local running group here in Charleston after getting completely derailed during the last round and completely bailing on the fall marathon season.
We had our first conditioning/speed work session two weeks ago at the track where we did 100 meter strides on the straightaway and a slower jog on the curves, and we did this continuously for 20 minutes. I didn't have my runmeter app running so I just counted the laps. I lost count right at the end but either ran 2.75 or 3 miles in 20 minutes, putting me at either a 7:16 or 6:40 pace respectively.
This tells me something. A few things, actually: 1) I'm running too slowly during 5Ks and, 2) my suspicion that I needed to run without monitoring my pace
was correct. And while I'm not completely sure of my mileage/pace, I'm leaning toward it actually being 6:40 because man, I was sore like I've never been sore after a 5K where I've typically run a full minute per mile slower (and I had just run a race at a 7:30ish pace that previous Saturday with zero soreness). I've done speedwork in the 7:00ish range before and not been this sore either.
Either way though, whether my pace was 7:16 or 6:40, those times are significantly faster than I've been racing and they confirmed that I've had mental freakouts happen during races by monitoring my pace and it's costing me time.
So to prove out this hypothesis and break free of my mind holding me back, I'm changing my plans of pacing Dave for a 10 minute mile for the Turkey Day Gobble Wobble and I'm running watch-free. Apparently, it's the biggest 5K in South Carolina, so it's going to be a pretty crowded race but I think I'll be able to maneuver around and get a good pace regardless. I'm really anxious to see how I do!