Mentally, I needed today’s run to get me back into the groove of things. The last few treadmill runs left me questioning my physical condition. My legs have been unresponsive which left me feeling flat.
This morning’s run helped reinforce that I’m on the right track for October. The crisp air (temperature was only 52 when I started), the fresh morning atmosphere, and another run in my new shoes all helped to wipe away this recent discontent. I started out slow with an 8:47 first mile, but then started picking up the pace with each mile faster than the previous mile. The last three miles were all under seven minute miles, with the last mile at 6:19. The run was 6.1 miles in 44:53.
The longer distances at a slower pace had created some doubt in my mind if I could hold a faster pace. Today’s run, considering I have not started my marathon training yet, seems to put me in a good position for October. The run’s average pace was 7:22 per mile. To run a 3:15 marathon pace needs to equate to 7:26 per mile pace.
The takeaway point from today’s run is focus. After the first few miles of a marathon to warm up, well-trained runners usually fall into a rhythm at a pace slightly faster than their target time to make up for a more measured start. That’s usually the easy part, the part that comes almost naturally after running so many miles in preparation for the race. Then comes the difficult part. The part where the body starts running out of regular energy supplies, when many people hit the proverbial wall. The natural response from the body is to slow down. That’s what has happened to me the past few races. Whether mile 17 or 20, the easy rhythm turns to a major struggle. That’s where focus comes into play. Mentally reminding yourself of the miles and miles of preparation and that you can overcome the wall. Focus allows your body to continue at the same pace even though every other part of your body is telling you that the pace cannot be sustained. And if done enough times in your training runs, that focus becomes the fortitude you need to reach your goal. That’s the piece that I have lacked late in the race. I am hopeful that this base building process will benefit me later both physically and mentally as I once again approach those difficult race miles in October’s race.