Today’s workout was scheduled for a 10 mile run at less than marathon race pace. After yesterday’s day off from running, I was excited to hit the road again this morning. Not to focus too much on the pace, I decided not to look at my watch for a majority of the run. This little bit of freedom allowed me to think about whatever came to my mind.
The first series of thoughts centered around creating a strategy for the upcoming marathon. At least for now, the thought is to run a controlled, even pace through the first 15-20 miles. I’m hoping that translates to something around 7:15/mile pace on average. With such a strategy, I hope to avoid hitting the “wall” later in the race and actually feel stronger later in the race. If those would go according to plan, I would love to have some sub-seven minute miles towards the end of the race.
Without concerning myself about pace, I tried to mock this strategy on today’s run. Instead of measuring the pace at each mile (often more frequently than that), I measured the run by effort. The first seven miles were at a comfortable pace and I tried increasing the effort over the last three miles. It’s a bit of a physical and mental challenge to increase the pace once you have settled into a good groove for several miles. Your muscles react differently, especially at the beginning of the change of pace. What I discovered today was that even though the change of pace takes a while for the muscles to grow accustomed to, it certainly helps that your body is warmed up well. Soon, the changed pace becomes the new normal.
The second prong of this strategy is taking each mile one mile at a time. This can be especially helpful if the last mile was particularly bad — either too slow or too fast. By concentrating on the current mile, you can put the prior miles behind you and focus on getting back to the strategy by starting with the present mile.
The final piece of the strategy is knowing and documenting the strategy. As the marathon grows closer, this strategy will take a more concrete form. Sharing my expectations through this blog will help hold me accountable as my training continues as well as the marathon itself.
I also had some very general thoughts on today’s run about nutrition that I hope to add under the nutrition topic soon. As far as today’s actual training run, it was 10.15 miles in 1:20:34 or 7:56/mile average pace. The encouraging part of the run is that despite not watching my pace by looking at my watch, I was able to increase a comfortable pace into a quicker pace in the latter stages of the run. The first five mile split was 40:58 compared to 39:36 for the final 5.15 miles. When focused on increasing the effort in the final three miles, I was able to run at 7:32/mile pace in a controlled manner.