Image by DoktorSpinn via Flickr
My first workout of the new training program was a 3mi fast run on Saturday. I decided ahead of time on an 8min/mile pace for my fast runs*. This meant completing Saturday's run in 24 minutes. Not an easy task for me, but not impossible either. I'd call it a good challenge - and it didn't disappoint.
I felt pretty good starting out. I checked my pace frequently, trying to get my pace just right. It felt good to be out running such a strong pace - much faster than the 9.5-11min long-run miles I've become accustomed to during the 1/2 marathon training.
Then I got to about the 1/2 mile mark.
And the pain began...this was really going to be a challenge.
I did what I normally do in these situations - I turned up my music in an effort to distance my mind from the pain. That worked pretty well for a while.
Then I got to about the 3/4 mile mark.
Self-doubt started to kick in. I haven't been running fast in a while - had I lost some ability since my 5k PR last October? Have the many long, slow runs robbed me of some ability to go fast on the shorter runs?
I decided I would slow down. Not right away - but up the trail just a bit. The plan had changed - instead of doing three 8min miles, I would use this as an opportunity to see how far I could go at that pace.
So I went another 1/4 mile and finished mile 1. Time: 7:42. Whew! I was ahead of my goal! So I decided I could back off just a bit and try to hang for at least another half mile. At least make it half-way. Then I could back off and feel good about at least getting to the half way point at my new fast goal pace.
This mind trick kept me going to the 1.5 mile point, then to the 1.75 mile point, then to the 2 mile point... mile 2 time: 8:06. I was slipping just a bit, but still pretty close, and overall still ahead of my target time.
With a mile to go now, I was beginning to feel like I might be able to hang on and finish this run on target. If not, I could at least get really close. This line of reasoning got me through to mile 2.5. Still on pace. Then I got to a pretty good hill. I managed to work my way up the challenging grade at target pace, but I was really hurting at the top.
Fortunately, my effort was rewarded by an equally steep downhill, but it was short-lived.
By mile 2.7 I was really feeling it and really wondering how I managed that sub-25 min 5k last October. Then I hit the wall at mile 2.75. I had to back off. Had to. So I stopped my Garmin and walked for about half a minute. That was all I needed. I decided I could do this last 1/4 mile, I couldn't quit this close to finish. So I started the Garmin again and headed to mile 3... mile 3 time: 8:00 - right on target (well, not counting the short break).
So Saturday's run looked like this**:
Distance: 3 miles
Ave Pace: 7:55
My second workout was on Sunday.
This session, my long runs are on Sundays. This Sunday was 5 miles. I decided on a 9:30 pace for my long runs*.
I've also decided to really focus more on core/strength training this time around. For now, I'm doing Jillian Michael's "Yoga Meltdown." This is not traditional yoga - it's a combination of aerobic and static exercises, and it's very challenging for me right now. The great thing about it is that it doesn't require any equipment, and it includes alot of core and upper leg work, which is just what I'm wanting to focus on. I'm doing this workout before my long and easy runs - which means on Sunday, Tuesday, and Thursday.
So Sunday would include JM Yoga and then a 5 mile run. I don't really have as much to say about Sunday's workout. The yoga was challenging, but my wife Melody did the yoga workout with me, so it was nice to have a workout partner. By the end of the yoga, I was wondering if I had enough left to complete the 5 mile run. But once I got out on the road, I felt fine and had no problem completing the run.
So Sunday's run looked like this:
Distance: 5 miles
Ave Pace: 9:18
That catches me up to today, which is a rest day. I can tell from this weekend's two workouts that I have a challenging six weeks ahead of me!
* The paces were selected with the help of the McMillan running calculator using my last 5k race time.
** If you add in the 20-30 second break, the overall pace slips to about 8:05 - still about on target... unless you also consider that I had my Garmin stopped during the walking bit, so the distance I walked was not part of the 3 miles, so overall distance was more than 3 miles, so... so it's really a bit complicated to figure it all out. I'll just keep it imprecise and say I managed about an 8min pace :)