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July 30: 8 mile Tempo Run

July 30, 2008

Finally did what I know is the safe thing and varied my route some. Parked in a different spot (for more on why I don’t run in my neighborhood, read this post) and discovered at 5:45, it’s pretty dark if the roads don’t have street lights. No frog- or sidewalk- related accidents, though we had some close calls.

After a warm-up mile at 10:41 pace, I set out for six miles at my half-marathon goal pace–the training plan called for 9:09. You can see the splits in the training log–it was closer to even nine-minute miles. At times it felt like a really effortless rhythm–bum, bum, bum–loved that. Other times I’d look down to check and find that I’d either have moved up to closer to 5k pace (8:20 or so) or fallen off to 9:30. I guess on race day I won’t be as concerned about it mile by mile–I’ll be more concerned about pacing at miles 3, 6, and 9.

I will confess that my legs were tired at mile 6 and I was thankful to be able to back off that 9-minute mile pace. Even so, that last mile averaged a 9:26 pace, so the tired legs must have thought the 9-minute mile pace was sustainable. At first I was worried about the legs being so tired after just six 9-minute miles, but I’m trying to remind myself that:

  1. This is my first tempo run of the training season. For all purposes, it’s August, and my race is in mid-November. I don’t need my legs to run thirteen nine-minute miles today. I need them to run them in November. (Then we’ll start talking about maybe running twenty-six ten-minute miles in February.)
  2. Race day is not training day. Adrenaline, volunteers, carbo loading and hydration give a lot to tired legs. I didn’t prepare for a long run today, nor should I have. Of course my legs were tired. I had a hard workout. I wasn’t prepared to ask my legs to give a half marathon effort, and they weren’t prepared to give it.
  3. Like I said, the pace felt fairly sustainable and rhythmic. After the initial speed-up, the pace felt . . . not frantic. I didn’t feel like I was in a 5k. I was breathing hard, and I could tell I was working hard, but I didn’t want to die, and I went the distance I’d set in my mind. Feels good to work hard.

One concern–I wish I was better at even pacing. I was shocked that in my first half my splits were so even. I didn’t look at Garmie very much during the race, however. I ran by feel, knowing the 2-hour pacer had passed me and the 2:10 pacer was still behind me. Maybe that was a good strategy. If my pace varied from stride to stride, I didn’t know to freak out about it. At the end of the race, looking at my mile-by-mile splits, I look like a master of even pacing: all but one of my middle 8 miles are one or two minutes off a 9:20 pace. Maybe I’ll play around with Garmie displaying an average pace for the lap instead of current pace. I don’t mind running negative splits, but I can control that myself. If I have energy left for a kick, I can let it out at the 10mi marker, like I did at the A1A. But I don’t want to do on race day what I did today–surge back and forth when I look down and realize–oh, I’m at 8:20, oh, I’m at 9:30. That’s just insane for 13 miles.

Any input?

2 Comments leave one →
  1. Alex lopresti permalink
    June 9, 2010 7:18 pm

    I just ran 49:01 with my team today, im a sophomore boy in high school.

  2. the Ringmaster permalink*
    June 9, 2010 7:30 pm

    What’s your distance, Alex?

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