>Ever have one of those runs? You know the kind. The kind where you go out and end up running really hard. Your legs burning…screaming for you to slow down. Your chest tight. Breathing labored, on the verge of being out of control? It’s one of those runs where you’re afraid to look at your Garmin to see your pace, because you’re afraid to know if you’re really pushing too fast or if you’re having one of those really bad days? Yet, at the same time, you really think you’re having a good run – a strong effort?
That was my run Monday night.
Maybe I had a lot of stress I needed to work out (I did have a bad day at the office, after all). Perhaps I’m still energized by my recent half marathon PR. Subconsciously, maybe I am pushing harder so I can PR again (I really, really, really want to go sub-2:00 in a half marathon this year).
My run Monday night was supposed to be a relatively easy 5-miler. I had expected to go about 50 minutes. Nice, slow pace to just get the legs loose and run out some of the stress. Mile 1 was very comfortable, and right on where I wanted to be (9:59). I clearly picked up the pace a little in mile 2, even though I didn’t consciously do it on purpose. I just felt strong. My foot turnover felt perfect. My breathing was in check. 9:32. As I started my third mile, I decided to just go…and not think about my pace, not look at my watch again…just run (insert movie voice over guy saying, “Run, Forrest. Run.”). I purposefully picked up the pace again. My breathing got a little less controlled. I crossed into mile 4 and felt very good. Kept chugging along. Mile 5 was HARD. I was really pushing. I sounded like a rattling air conditioner unit. I was trying to keep my form from breaking down…to keep my turnover high…to keep my arms pumping and not slammed close to my chest. My legs were SCREAMING at me to slow down. I dug deep…no slowing down at this point. As I closed in on five miles, based on how my recent runs have felt, I thought I’d probably gone about 48 minutes. Maybe 47:30. When I crossed over five miles, I looked at my Garmin and was AMAZED. I had run the five miles in :46:18!
Once I got inside and looked at my splits, I was even happier. I negative split each mile for the whole run!
Needless to say, I was very excited.
Now, here’s my dilemma. It seems like every time I run, I end up running faster than I “think” I should be. Take last night, for example. I wanted to do a really easy 3-miler…just to get the legs moving and work out some of the crap left over from Monday night’s run. I was absolutely going no faster than 10-minute miles. E A S Y run.
Turns out, I went much faster than that, even despite trying to stay “slow”. I ticked off a 9:15 pace for the three miles. Should I worry that I’m going too hard? I want to avoid injury…and this is quite a bit faster training pace than I’ve gone recently. My wife told me not to worry about it…that I’m just building up to my PR. Actually…she asked me if she should throw me a pity party for going faster than I wanted to, but that’s a different story…
So what I’m grappling with is how big of a deal is this? I really don’t think it is a big deal at all. Understanding that I have always been a long-slow runner, and my goals are to go faster, I think I just need to adjust my way of thinking and base it off my expectations. That would mean recalibrating what I think should be a recovery run pace versus a tempo run pace, etc.