I read something before that stuck with me: my marathons are slow because my 5Ks are slow. Of course it's not that simple, but at the same time it is really that simple. 5Ks are horrible, they're too short for an easy pace, but way too long for a full out sprint. They require diving in the hurt locker and staying there no matter how miserable it is. One of my weaknesses is doing painful runs. I'd so much rather take it easy and enjoy it. Such perfunctory mileage, though, is what has me mired in mediocracy.
1. Train for Chicago (duh), do a better job than I did this spring, work on stamina. There is NO excuse for blaming bad weather in the spring and summer.
2. Run a 5k PR. I'm currently sitting on a 26:08 at the Pi run of 3.14 miles. The plan is to tack on a little speed work to most runs. I need to get acclimated to consistently running sub-8:00. Today, for example, I'm going to do a nice easy gentle 2-mile run, then go for speed. Once I get my pace under 8, I'm going to maintain it for a short short time - 0.05 or 0.1 miles. Next time, increase it a little. Repeat. Or if I'm running 5 miles, run miles 1, 3 and 5 at an easy pace, and miles 2 and 4 at a sub-9. Or something. I need to be more deliberate about incorporating speed into most of my runs.
It's exciting to have a new goal. I've gotten bored with the same old same old marathon training. I want to win my age group for once. I have 2 second place finishes, both at the Electric Bolt 5k, but I really want to win, and I'm finally ready to put in the effort and make it happen.