Last Wednesday's Tempo Run
The prep: I went into this one a little nervous and dreading it. It's been so long since I've done a consistent run for more than 2 miles (as compared to interval runs). My plan was to go 4 miles by starting with a 5 minute warm up walk and then 10 minutes running with a 1 minute rest until I got to my 4 miles. I really wanted to try a 11:00 m/m pace. I mapped out an outside route since I need to start getting used to those conditions.
The actual: The weather was better than I expected. I did this run at the end of my workday, taking lunch at the end so I didn't have to worry about how sweaty and gross I became. The predictions were for the low 70's which is quite warmer than the previous outside runs that have peaked in the 50's. But it was just in the high 60's with good cloud cover once I got out there.
I started off great and had to come to a stop at a red light. No biggie - I'm not the type that keeps jogging at a red light. I didn't stop my tracking app at that light and I reached the 1 mile mark just a little past the light at 13:24. So I knew my running pace was a bit fast if that 13:24 counted the walk at the beginning plus the stop at the light. Looking at my stats later I saw that my pace started at 10-11 m/m then shot up to 9-9.5 m/m right before and after the light. So of course I got tired. Mile 2 to 3 felt pretty difficult and looking at my paces afterwards I was still going too fast (even though at that point I was trying to purposefully slow down). I couldn't go a full 10 minutes without a quick walking break but I didn't beat myself up about it because I already knew I was going too fast (based on my mile 2 split) and this was just the first time this season I was experimenting with this. It felt a little worrisome when thinking ahead to a 10 mile run but it was a great test run because now I know I'm going to have to either work on my pacing or plan an interval run (like 4:1 or something like that) for the 10 miles.
So this was my first "long run" without it being a C25K interval type of run. I did do intervals but at the 4:1 pace as mentioned above. I got out a little later in the morning than I had originally planned so it was warmer already but not hot and it's probably good just to get myself used to running in the 70's since it most likely will be in the 80's for the race. At least it wasn't humid that day and there was a nice breeze blowing as well.
I went out to one of our local Civil War battlefields. It's a great park to run in and is used quite a bit by the local running and biking community. If you take the main loop around the park, the loop itself is about 2 miles. There are some side trails/paths you can use as well to lengthen the distance. I plotted out the 5 mile path so that I did the loop twice along with going up and down one of the side roads which was mostly shaded and completely flat (a nice benefit because the loop has a couple of good long gentle hills - at least what we call "hills" for this area).
Another great benefit of the park are excellent bathrooms rather than suffering through a port-a-potty or other nasty public park bathroom.
I forced myself to stay slow and I kept an eye on my watch so that I would stay on my 4:1 plan. I didn't do any walking warm-up so that I could better know my pace at each mile. Even when I was passed by a couple of college kids at the beginning I kept my pace steady. I did miss the first 4 minute mark on my watch but realized it at 4:30 and took my minute walk at that point. I got to the first mile right around 11:35 and was very pleased. I felt great as well so I knew the pace would work well for going the longer distance.
Somewhere along this point I swear I passed Kevin Nealon coming the opposite way on the path. But since he doesn't appear to be anywhere near Tennessee (at least according to a quick Twitter search) he must have a doppelgänger here.
I kept up with Kevin's twin (and his running partner) through the first loop and felt pretty proud about running the same pace as Kevin Nealon.
I hit mile two just shy of the 24 minute mark so I panicked a bit and went further before having a walking break. Mile 3 's pace was better and by mile 4 I knew I could keep my overall pace below a 12 m/m. After all, there was only a mile left. :) I finished at 58:13 and still felt pretty good. Tired of course but not dying. So good stuff all around.
This week: Interval Run and Second Round of Speed Work
The original plan was to do an interval run on Sunday of 3.5 miles. This didn't happen but I did do a 3.8 mile interval run on Monday which was fine.
The second round of speed work was on Tuesday of this week and it was great - well as great as speed work can be. I decided to do it on the treadmill to control the speed. This was still just a 2 mile overall run. I went a 1/2 mile at a 10:00 m/m pace and then did 1/5th of a mile at a 7:30 m/m pace and then 1/10 of a mile walking. This was repeated 4 times and then for the final quarter mile I slowed down to a 8:34 pace. There was .05 left to walk to cool down.
We still have yet to see what a hot and humid outside long run will feel like but the time is coming soon.