I have a problem. And only more running will cure it.
I will use Saturday’s workout to illustrate said problem. Bear with me…
On Saturday I had a 7 mile run assigned. First mile, 8 min/mile pace. Next five miles 7-7:20 min/mile pace. Last mile cool down.
First mile: I ran at a 7:37 pace. FAIL. In my mind 8 minute miles feel not easy. So, I start running at a pace that feels the right amount of not easy and not too hard. Again, FAIL. 7:37 and 8:00 are pretty different. If had a couple miles to average over I would have netted out successfully. But I can also guarantee that I would have run that first mile just the same. My mind and body need to do a better job of communicating and assessing pace and effort. My first response is to look at a workout and think “Damn this is gonna be hard,” and so I push myself too hard up front and don’t successfully warm up for the real meat of the workout.
Next 5 miles: I ran at a 7:05 pace. Good girl! But IT.WAS.NOT.EASY. (Do you think Staples would make me a NOT EASY button?) I was disappointed, thinking about my recent half marathon performance this should have been easy! But then I thought some more, yes I just ran a half marathon at a 7:24 min/mile pace but silly runner, have you ever run that fast for that distance EVER in your whole entire life? 7:24 minute miles create a good clip for 13.1 miles, but when have you run faster than that? My first answer would be why thank you for asking, at the Run The Bluff Magnolia 12k of course! And then, my second answer would be OH NEVER. The idea of this pace range freaked me out so much that I really didn’t even have any idea what I was pacing at – other than FAST – until I was about half way through. And then, even though I knew I was in the zone, I sped up because I still stressed out about meeting the goal. So I huffed and puffed through it and hurried until I could hurry no more. And when I hit lap on my watch I was very happy to see 7:05 as my average for the stretch. At least screaming at myself worked.
Last mile: I ran at a 8:31 pace. Seems like a reasonable cool down pace to me? Not much to say here.
The moral of this story: I need to run more. I feel like a clumsy puppy whose front legs are moving too slowly for their rapid and more coordinated back legs. I’ve gotten better at running and become faster, but I’m lost in a place where I don’t know how to feel my recently gained fastness; I don’t know what I can do and my benchmark of effort in relation to pace is all off. So the cure? Clearly more running, and that’s a cure I can get behind!
Or maybe… the solution is more cow bell?