Is It Better Recovery? Or PBB Toast?

Saturday’s Assignment: 10 mile progression run, out and back on the Seattle Half Marathon course. First 5 miles to be run at an 8 minute/mile page. Second half to be run faster, race style, with the mental focus of racing.

From where I live, out and back on the course is a beautiful route through gorgeous tree-lined neighborhoods, the arboretum, and the occasional view of Lake Union or Lake Washington. I hadn’t realized the route existed until last weekend, but am pretty excited to add it to my repertoire.  It will do wonders for morning running next summer when the early sunrise makes wooded areas a nonissue. My favorite stretch is the Interlaken Blvd bit that connects Capitol Hill and Montlake/Madison Park. It has the rolling and snaking feeling of a trail run but the path is wide enough to accommodate any and all running and biking traffic without forcing anyone bail to the side. It’s a perfect treat for the midsection of and out and back run; though scenery can get boring when you have to pass it twice I don’t think that couple miles will ever be written off my list.

However, despite the beauty this route is pretty killer on the “back” portion. The whole thing is pretty rolling with terrain ranging from flat to steep incline to gradual sneaky hill, but the “out”, my first half, is a net downhill making keeping an 8 minute pace very manageable. That means that the second half, my “back”, is a net uphill, making it not so manageable to make up time and pick up the pace. It was great practice for how beat I’ll feel in those last miles of the Seattle Half, but I don’t usually push myself that hard on a run so long in distance so it was a new mental game to keep! running! faster! for the last couple miles as flat terrain climbed uphill.

During the run I was aware that I was pushing myself pretty hard, and tried to remind myself that during the race I’ll be even more exhausted but will still have to keep running, faster even. But sometimes intense exertion doesn’t actually end up calculating the numbers and paces you want to see on your Garmin. In this case I think I did okay for my first run of its kind. The first half, keeping an 8 minute mile average, was a breeze, and at the turnaround I didn’t feel like the pace had really sucked anything out of me. The second half, running faster, was not a breeze, but I tried to keep an even level of exertion so that I used the downhills and flats to my pacing advantage to make up time.

When I arrived at my front door I was pretty spent, but post fuel and shower I was full of energy and ready to keep moving. With small increases in activity I’m noticing that my recovery is quicker and more thorough than it was over the summer, so even post (hard) workout I feel energized all day. Well, either it’s better recovery or peanut butter toast with bananas are a miracle food. Probably, both.

My Elevation/HR/Pace details:

My “Laps” (first half vs second half):

My Route:

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