Thursday, July 14, 2011

Slow Ride... Take It Easy

I have a confession.

There's a little voice inside of my head that constantly says (when I'm running):

"You need to be running all of your training runs below 9 min/mile. Now pick up the pace."

The only exception is during the first half of my long runs. I shoot for a 9:10-9:25 pace for the first half and then sub-9 for the last half.

Why the arbitrary sub-9 min/mile stance? Not sure. Part of it is because I feel like I have been training long enough to where I should be able to do that. Another part is that my goal for the Heartbreak Ridge Half (8 weeks from Saturday) is a 1:43. That's a sub-8 minute mile pace. If I can't hold sub-9 during training runs, how can I expect to do this?

I do have a coach, and I'll likely ask him about this when he gets back from his vacation (fabulous 13-day European cruise). I feel like I already know what he's going to say. I've asked him about hydration, fueling and LSD for long runs and he gave me a simple, straightforward explanation for each. Then he closed with:

"Hope that helps. Entire chapters have been written about this topic." 

I love it. He helps this overthinker stop overthinking.

My bet is that he's going to tell me to run by how I *feel*. If I *feel* like doing a sub-9, go for it. If I want to do a 10 min/mile, that's cool too. One of his basic rules is that one should alternate hard days with easy days. No two hard days in a row. Another one of his tenets is below (Bahaha! You have to keep reading if you want to know. PFFFFFFT!!!)

Today's run was an easy run for me. After completing 6 miles of interval training yesterday, I headed out this morning with my primary running partner and another runner and decided to just go ahead and follow their lead. It felt good, but as I looked down at my Garmin (when it finally got light enough outside), I felt really guilty seeing a 10:07 for my pace.

"Don't think about it. Just go with it. Your body needs this relaxed pace. You've been achy lately. Maybe you need to slow down. This feels good." 

At 2.5 miles, I turned around and headed back home while the girls continued on. Mike wanted to be able to go to his masters swim practice, and I only needed to do 5 miles. Time to head back.

I could have really stressed and picked up the pace to sub-9, but I decided not to. I'm gonna take it easy today.

Final Score:

Avg Pace

Positives to take away from the run:

1) I ran by how my body *felt*. How can that be a bad thing?
2) I did what my coach encourages me to do: finish the last half of the run stronger than the first half.
3) If nothing else, I still ran this slightly faster than what the McMillan Running Calculator says I should do for a "recovery jog" based on my goal race pace. Today, I felt like I really needed a recovery jog. Tomorrow is my weekly hilly 8-miler (or at least as hilly as you can get in Yuma).

Mcmillan Running Calculation for my 1:43 Half Marathon Goal:

Endurance WorkoutsPace/MilePace/K
Recovery Jogs9:48 to 10:186:05 to 6:24
Long Runs8:48 to 9:485:28 to 6:05
Easy Runs8:48 to 9:185:28 to 5:47

Do you have that inner voice that tells you to "pick it up" even when you know you should be going slower?

Do you incorporate "recovery jogs" after a hard day?


  1. YES. I'm exactly like you in that i feel really guilty or that I'm out of shape if I run over 9s. It's a lie, I tell you!!! Hoping to hit that same half marathon time in September too! good for you for going with the slower pace today!!

  2. This coach will tell you that the majority of your runs should be nice and easy! There's a time and place for speed but the remainder should be easy for so many reasons. Ok, I'll stop the lecture!

  3. Good Post!! I have similar issues with certain HAUNTING paces! I've not been the best at listening in the past... I've always been the stubborn type to do what I wanted or what I felt was necessary to get me to the starting line with the MOST confidence EVEN if I knew it was against what the experts would advise. For me, that meant running my long runs much closer to goal race pace. Usually +15-20 sec. for a marathon. This served me well, HOWEVER it also affected my ability to pull out quality speedwork. I could run a "fast" marathon but really struggled with shorter distances. I'm just starting to take a much more HARD/easy approach-what I now believe is the RIGHT approach. Learning as I go! This is a babble and I tell you as far as running by "feel" I could run barely faster than 9 minute miles on my easy run on Wednesday (after hills) and even that was a struggle. Pretty sure the right decision was to just accept my pace as what my body needed. Wow, no idea if this made sense but I'm way too lazy to proof it.

    In response to your comment, I wear Brooks Launch. They are a neutral cushioned performance shoe. I wear them ALL the time, training and races. Very light, still feel cushioned, and the PERFECT fit for me. The T7 racers, I will use for 5K/10K's.

  4. I try to only worry about speed too much once or twice a week. However, I have to admit that I don't like to drop below a 12 min/mile for my LSD and prefer to see a 9 or a 10 something mile on other runs.