My usual run is four miles at a steady pace.
Sometimes I do a faster three, or a slower five or six, but on a typical day, it’s four – two out and back. I strive for negative splits, each mile faster than the last. But I haven’t focused on overall pace in ages.
In the past couple of months, I’ve added some interval training. So some days I do my steady four and others it’s sprint work, or longer faster bouts, with periods of low intensity to recover. I selected a fat burning plan, rather than one for speed building. That said, it’s reasonable to expect speed gains when you put your newly optimized lungs and legs to the test.
I haven’t done that.
On my four-milers, I take it easy on purpose. I warm up the first mile, and lock into a comfortable stride for the next three.
But last night I reflected on that.
I’m stronger and more flexible than I’ve been in years. Yet here I am, still doing these slowish/easy runs. I can go faster like I used to. I think I’ll try…
This morning I arrived at the greenway in the same state of mind. Walking toward the start I thought, Every run can’t be conversation pace. And off I went. I wasn’t after a tempo run, but I was going for a push.
My first mile was faster than usual, but still within range for my warm up pace. I locked into a zone and began to kick things up a notch.
Mile two, faster. In fact, nearly 40 seconds faster than my usual pace for mile two.
Mile three is where I usually slow things down. Typically, I have to concentrate to maintain my pace. If I don’t run negative splits, it’s usually because of the mile three bust. But I kept pushing, and when I heard the Garmin chirp, I’d dropped another 30 seconds. I’d run a minute faster than my usual mile three pace.
By mile four, I decided to take breathers. I pushed the pace but stopped the clock when I needed to rest. That said, I dropped another 50 seconds from the previous split, still a minute faster than my usual pace for mile four.
I felt great! For one, I accomplished what I set out to do. And two, a strong workout feels great when you’re up to it.
Now I’ve got my work cut out for me… I have a new target pace for non-stop runs. Because every run can’t be conversation pace.