Friday, February 15, 2013

Let's talk numbers

Pace and mileage are the only numbers I care about at the moment so we'll stick to those. I had a good run today!

I didn't feel like going, especially by myself, but I checked my log for the week and saw that I only needed 3 more miles to make it to 15, leaving me only 10 to do this weekend. I really want to do 25 miles this week since I did 20 last week. Then if I continue to feel good I'll do 30 the week after that and so on. 5 miles a week seems like an appropriate increase for me. I definitely feel like a lot of my aches and pains and exhaustion I was feeling a few weeks ago was from trying to do too much too soon. I hadn't been doing 30 miles a week consistently for a couple of months so last month when I tried to just jump back in at that mileage my body had a hard time. I'm going to be smarter and increase my mileage gradually like I should have done before. Be smarter than I was. And listen to your body. I knew I was doing too much and I backed way off for a couple weeks and feel great now.

I did my 3 miles today and it felt good. I didn't plod along slowly like I have been. I put in a comfortably hard effort. I guess I'd call it a tempo run. Let me tell you what I mean by easy and tempo runs. I consider a run to be easy when I can run and have a conversation, a few sentences at a time, without difficulty. Tempo runs are faster than easy runs but not an all out race pace. You aren't going as fast as you can, you can still talk a little, not in sentences, but a few words. There are plenty of more technical definitions that take your heart rate or mile pace into account, but I prefer to run by feel for these runs and not wear all sorts of gadgets to monitor these things.

When I finished and realized I'd run it at a 9 minute pace I was happy. It's been awhile since I've seen those numbers on my watch. Unfortunately, I started to compare my time today with my times from months ago, pre marathon, when I was training consistently and running better than I am now. At that point 9 min pace was my "easy" pace not my "tempo" pace. And for a lot farther than 3 miles. Comparison really is the thief of joy. I'm hoping that when I get my mileage back up my speed will return too.

For this weekend, I'm planning a longer run tomorrow. Probably 7 miles, and then a 3 miler the next day. Here's hoping they go well. Happy running!

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