So yesterday I crammed a tempo run into a 14-miler, sort of as insurance if, due to my schedule, I am unable to run long this weekend.
It was a two-for-one if you will.
And something I hope to continue doing during my marathon buildup.
I’ve talked before about how I used to balk at people who threw speed into their long runs, because it just seemed so freaking grueling to me. (Running should be fun!)
But if we want to run faster than 80-something-year-olds, we have to do something different, something harder than we’ve ever done before. Yes, consistency is key, but I am certainly not getting any younger.
And while 14 miles is so not 20, I thought I would share my general feelings about trying to run fast while running long.
I showed up to meet Katie with my hair all over the place, my iPod tangled up around my phone, and my Garmin dangling from my wrist. Squeezing in 14 miles on a weekday is no joke, and so other things, like brushing my hair and getting myself organized, fell by the wayside. (I did brush my teeth!)
I needed to get my run in and be at a meeting a few hours later, so we took off as soon as my hair was tied back.
Since we were both having a crazy busy week and had anxious energy to burn, we ran way too fast on our warm up, as we clicked off four miles at 8:06 average pace. (Thankfully Katie kept yelling out our pace, and when it dropped too low, we attempted to hold ourselves back. It was like, “Rebecca…7:35!” And so on…)
When it was time to start the six miles at tempo pace, we both stopped to complain a little bit. After all, running long just feels good. Running fast? Not so much.
But I play the role of drill sergeant, so I gave Katie her pace, and told her to take off. She generally goes out ahead of me, because when we go out together I run way too fast for my first few miles and then wilt like a dying flower.
We ran on a course in which one side is uphill and one side is slightly downhill.
The first mile is on the slight downhill, thus the faster pace. The course is a 3-mile loop, so if you look at the splits, I ran pretty evenly considering the change in terrain. Though I did speed up on the last mile, probably because I was so happy to be finished.
My overall average pace was 7:11, nothing new and exciting for me. I would have loved to have seen a drop in pace this week, but alas, I am having a rough week and it just wasn’t in the cards.
After the workout miles, we got a little water and headed out on a 4-mile cool down.
And here, my friends, is where the difference occurs. Our last miles were in the 9-minute pace range, as we were just too freaking tired to run faster.
But here also is where we learned what our legs will feel like in a longer race if we try to run fast. Read: tired! But we will, over time, adapt.
Thus the torture.
Hopefully it will continue again soon.
Have a great weekend!