It’s that time of year when we Minnesotans can at least start daring to think about spring.
This weekend I was literally running ON the road again – in contrast to running on the snow that seemed to perpetually cover the shoulder the past few months. (I know, most of my runs have actually been on the treadmill lately.)
A few weeks ago things looked like this.
On Saturday I ran my long run with things looking a bit different.
We still have a lot of snow, but it was great to hear my feet hitting solid pavement (or gravel) the whole way.
I started from the farm because I had some chores and things to do early Saturday before I ran. Once I was ready and hunting around for running clothes I was surprised to realize it was only 3* out. It HAD felt colder than I expected as I checked on calves, but I knew it would warm up to almost 30* that afternoon. I settled on double layers and full hat and mittens, which was just perfect.
10.5 miles later I was elated. A great run on a crisp morning. I felt finally my long run is back where it needs to be.
Then I made the decision to look back at my training log from last year at this time. I’ve trained for the same April race 4 years now, so looking back at previous years is helpful.
Do you want the good news or the bad news first?
Ok, let’s get the bad out of the way…
Last year at this point I’d already done two 10+ mile runs, and I was running a lot more. Last February I ran 100 miles. This year I barely broke 50. I even felt like I was being really consistent lately, but when I added things the volume just wasn’t there.
In terms of speed I’m also behind. Last February I made it through 6 x 800 meters at 7:30/mile pace.
Fast forward to this last Wednesday. I did 4 x 800 meters at 7:42, 7:36, 7:30, 7:30 pace respectively. And I felt ready to puke when it was over.
Perhaps my churning stomach had more to do with the several brownies and cups of coffee I’d ingested directly before, (why, Lisa, why?) but it was a tough workout.
Summary? I’m running less, and I’m slower.
But of course there’s a silver lining. Here’s the good part.
While I may not be able to hammer out 800′s like I want, I run a pretty good pace over the long haul.
Last year my long runs were averaging about 10 minute miles. My philosophy for several years has been to keep long runs easy, and if I’m feeling good, pick up the pace a little over the second half
So on Saturday I did just that. I stuck my phone away, and after almost 50 minutes I looked at it quickly. I’d covered about 5 and 1/4 miles at 9:20 pace.
This was faster than I’d thought, but things felt pretty easy so I increased my speed just a bit as I turned around to run back.
I covered the second half of my run at 8:59 pace for an average of 9:09.
This is one of those times I wish I had a heart rate monitor to gauge things. Then I could see if my effort was really as easy as I thought. Either way I had a great run, and I won’t argue with that!
This also means I’m clearly in shape already to run 13.1 in under 2 hours. If I keep working hard this next month I still have a realistic shot at a PR in April.
I’m especially glad I got outside to enjoy the dry roads too. We’ve got snow coming down this morning, and it’s forecast to be almost a foot by tomorrow. March can be a snowy month around here, so I’m not giving up the treadmill just yet.
Hope you all have a great start to your week!