If Wednesday’s run was a test, today’s run was a lesson. At least one lesson. I’ve recently written about trying to get to race pace faster in the actual marathon race by getting used to the process in training. I tried to put this theory into better practice this morning.
My first mile was a bit quicker than expected as it was right at my minimum marathon pace, 7:26. The second mile was faster at 6:54 due to more of a downhill grade. The third mile continued the same pace at 6:53. The fourth mile started today’s first lesson. I started feeling the faster than planned pace along with the uphill grade. The lesson learned is not to get too caught up at the beginning – the marathon is not a race that one can “bank” time early in the race to use later. The other lesson: any increase in grade is really felt when running at race pace. This definitely proved I need to continue my hill repeats as scheduled. The fourth mile slowed to 7:04, but still ahead of the minimum pace of 7:26. This was the point in my run that I started this blog in my mind — the lesson of how I started out too fast and barely hung on at the end.
Along with the fifth mile came the next lesson. Especially with faster paced runs, it is sometimes necessary to separate your mind from your body. My mind was still stuck with the negative thoughts from how this blog would be written. But when I took stock of how things were really going, my body was not as bad off as my mind was telling me. My legs were a bit tired and the pace was challenging, but that is exactly what you want out of such workouts. When my watch displayed 7:09 for mile 5, I had to remind myself that even though slower than the prior miles, it was still 0:17 quicker than I needed.
Mile six gave me a few more lessons. Dispelling the negative thoughts creeping into my mind, I started to realize how important rhythm is in maintaining the right pace. About halfway through this mile I made a u-turn to head back home. That is when the next lesson came. As easy as the rhythm makes keeping a pace, any change in that rhythm makes maintaining the pace much more difficult. Turning around made me feel like mile 4 when I hit the hill incline. I completed the mile in 7:04.
Probably too confused by all of lessons through the first six miles, my mind was too full for any additional lessons for the rest of the run. Mile 7 passed in 7:08 and mile 8 passed in 7:03. The total effort resulted in a 7:05/mile pace at 56:46 total time. I was happy with the effort and results. It’s these types of training runs that I lacked previously and I hope to continue such efforts to run better than my 3:15 marathon goal.
Due to the temperatures, I had to run early in the morning. The positive outcome of this was it freed the rest of the day to watch the Olympics. It was a fun first full day of events. Some of the highlights included the men’s road race, swimming, volleyball, and gymnastics. I cannot wait until the running events start.