It was supposed to be an easy run. That’s runnerspeak for conversation pace, or kind of slow. As in taking it easy.
We began that way, running a 12-minute mile to start. We sped up as we ran, and actually I started to tire out. We walked in a couple of places near the end.
With all of that, I still ended up running a PR!
Well, sort of.
I’ve only completed a handful of runs at 10k (6.2 miles) or longer. The first time was November 2013. I didn’t run that distance again until this year.
RunKeeper has my data since 2011. It knows the truth – my 2013 run was faster. Garmin only has data since February 2016, so today’s run is the fastest it knows.
That said, today’s run was still a milestone. It serves as a great baseline for my training program. My goal is to run 10k in less than an hour. With 10-weeks left to train, I’m aiming to cut a solid 8 minutes off my current 10k pace. It feels doable, although a stretch. And that’s the reason I chose this goal in the first place.
My training runs have all gone according to plan, so I’ll trust the process and keep on keeping on.
In 2014, I began a running plan via my RunKeeper app. It’s a fat burning plan, and alternates intervals with steady runs to increase your fitness level. The app features several such plans for goals like run a 5k (3.1 miles), run a 5k in less than 30 minutes, and so on. Although I don’t enter races, I run 5ks and a rare 10k (6.2 miles), as part of a regular exercise regimen.
While perusing the plans back then, I noticed a 7-mile training run included to build endurance for a 5k. At that point I was a consistent 4-mile runner and 7 miles seemed daunting. It was a little too far outside my comfort zone, and after all, I was just a casual runner. The goal and the fear intrigued me, though. I filed it in the back of my mind to target later and stuck to the simpler fat burning plan.
Fast forward to 2016. One day, more or less due to happenstance than planning, I ran 7 miles! And then I did it again on purpose which was actually harder to do! After 7, the new uncomfortable, too-far-out-there goal I secretly filed away was 10. One day, I’ll run 10 miles. (I have zero or less than zero interest in training for a half or whole marathon, by the way, so don’t get any ideas). Anywho, 10 gives me the same jitters 7 did a couple of years ago, and I had no plans to hit it soon.
This weekend, I signed up for a new training plan via RunKeeper. Based on my current fitness and mental readiness for challenge, I selected a sub 60min 10k. This means running just over 6.2 miles in under an hour. It’s definitely doable, but unlike past running ventures, it will take actual training, rather than casual effort.
Before signing up, I skimmed the plan and noticed an 8-mile run in the mix. I felt the familiar tension, but brushed it off because of the two 7s under my belt. I locked in the plan and completed my first run (4 miles) on Sunday.
But today, while looking at the run calendar to confirm date of said 8-mile run, I blinked, observing there was much more in the offing. This 16-week plan starts off comfortably, but quickly ramps up to regular long runs – something I’ve never done with any consistency. There are two 7-milers on tap, and after a few weeks, not one but two 8-milers, two 9-milers, and shock of all shocks, yes a 10-miler.
I said it was time for a challenge. Wow. Here it is.
I started on Day 3, as I’d already completed the equivalent of the first two days on my regular regimen. I ran my standard distance – 4 miles – so it was an easy entry.
My distance running has been primarily self-taught/self-guided until now. I’ve been comfortable, and now that I’m fully settled into my new life, I’m ready to break boundaries.
I want to prove to myself that I can set and accomplish goals with consistency and commitment. These ingredients are sometimes lacking in my creative endeavors, and the combination of structure, challenge and discipline will reap benefits in the weeks and months to come.
Today’s run was to be conversation pace, defined on this plan as 11:15-11:30 minutes per mile. I nailed it at 11:20 average pace, but it was interesting to note that my conversation pace was more like concentration pace. Because I usually go much slower at the beginning and much faster at the end, I constantly checked my pace to make sure I was on target. I made mid-course adjustments the whole run to make sure I remained on track. I had to remain focused to keep pace.
Just posted a 4.08 mi run – Workout 1: four miles slow. Nice. Done! #Runkeeper
The plan is a sub 60 10k. That means my goal is to run just over six miles in just under an hour. This is a doable stretch for me. Although I’m confident I can be successful, I know it will take more effort than I’ve given in the past. Normally I run just for fun. Now I’m running for excellence. I don’t plan to enter an actual race, but I do plan to run faster, and longer and increase my overall fitness.
Today I took a step, and won. My next run is set for Tuesday…
Today I ran another 4 miler. I don’t generally run two days in a row, but rain is forecast for tomorrow, so I had to get it in.
I had modest goals – namely maintaining yesterday’s performance with the addition of a slightly faster warm up mile.
To my surprise and delight, I crushed it.
I pushed the warm up mile and was progressively faster on all miles thereafter. I even dropped my average pace by 30 seconds. That’s pretty shocking, and in truth, I hit my target. As in, what I expected to be doing after a couple of weeks of effort.
Next steps? Keeping this up long term, and not just as a quick trick a couple of days here and there. I’m still taking breathers on mile four, so I’ll also plan to build endurance for speedier runs.
I’m excited to see my mind and body work together to create an outcome. This is one of the things I most appreciate about running. It shows me I can visualize and enact things in the real world.