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.
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.
Today I woke up on time, then promptly fell asleep.
I strive to wiggle out of bed around 4:45, but this morning’s rain gave me permission to push that back. Since I couldn’t run as I intended, I slept instead.
Despite the extra sleep and snuggling with my boo, I was still sleepy throughout the day. I blame the rain and subsequent clouds. I perked up later on when the sun won out.
Reminding myself of yesterday’s victories, I scheduled and scored some today by eating a frog early and then making my way through some easier, yet still dreaded, tasks.
I also planned my approach to an ongoing project so I can stop making excuses and gain momentum. There are still a couple of things left to do before calling it a day, but I can claim today’s W already.
What are you doing today to ensure tomorrow’s success?
This morning Blue and I hit the greenway for a run date. Today’s plan was 4 miles or 40 minutes, whichever came second.
At the two-mile turn around, we were greeted with a surprise: an indigo bunting! These cute birds usually hang out farther up the trail. In fact, I can’t recall ever seeing one on this stretch. There he was, bouncing and flying alongside, making us laugh.
No videos or pictures today; we only have the memories of the moment.