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RE: Nice work, mate.
I like how you referred this as a "chatline" (really, at times it seems that way, doesn't it?) and like even more the new nickname you gave me!
I guess it all depends (here we go again...). Certainly 5k race pace has always been referred by many experts as "gentle" speed work. However, again, it all dependds on the individual and situation. I found out myself that I actually DO need to sharpen up somewhat before I even think about "speed". I can (or could, I should say) cut down 5k time trial times by 2 minutes once I start doing sharpening. So first of all, I would gladly buy the "effort" for 5k but I would NOT buy into 5k race pace simply because mine would vary a lot.
I've read it somewhere that someone once referred all these initial "speed" work as "slightly faster than your regular long run" and I think that should be about right particularly if you're not used to speed training like come high school or college kids; or if you completely devote yourself to "aerobic" running and more even so if you live in a flat area.
Bottom line, as HRE has described somewhere (could have been other thread), you're probably better off if you just disassociate yourself with any particular numbers (5k pace, 10k pace, whatever) and try to go with the effort. I also found out, in most cases with male runners, simply because of extra testastorone, even if you tell them to go at currect 5k pace (certainly with me!), you more often than not go slightly faster than that. "C'mon, we're only running 400m (or 200m or whatever), not the entire race! I should be able to blast away..." Here's the direct quote from Lydiard: "It's ALWAYS better to start out too slowly than too fast." This not only applys to aerobic running and/marathon conditioning training; but almost also always apply to other training as well.
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