Wednesday, April 19, 2017

The Day After You Blow Up on Your Training Run

Ever have a run that you think is going to be great and then it totally blows up? ... or at least it feels like a total failure in the moment? That was my run yesterday.

My run club workout yesterday was as follows... 2 mile warm up, 4 miles at half-marathon pace, 2 mile cool down. Simple enough. My plan was to run the pace portion at 8:20 pace. In my mind it was totally doable. I'd already run a 10K and an 8K at 8:10 pace. I should be able to do this!

Plus, I felt like this would be a good indicator as to how ready I was for my half on May 6th. Still, admittedly, I was a bit nervous about maintaining pace. In my races, 8:10 was my average pace by virtue of fast miles 1 and 2 and then hanging on until the end. I don't think I've done enough pace runs in sub-8:30 territory to get a good feel of how fast I'm running. I also have the tendency of getting really anxious about making my time so I always end up running a few seconds faster than the goal time just to make sure I'll make the time. Anyone else do this? I'm sure I'm not the only one!

So... 2 mile warm up goes fine.

Mile 1 - 8:20. Exactly on pace, sort of... What happened is I ran faster than pace and end up slowing down a bit in the last 0.25 or so to hit the goal time.

Mile 2 - 8:19. This one felt harder. Like a lot harder than I felt it should but I ran it the same way I ran the previous mile - faster in the beginning and slowed down in the end to get close to my goal time.

Mile 3 - 8:17. I was really on the struggle bus for this one. Maybe I shouldn't depend on my Garmin as much and trust how I feel. At the beginning of this mile I felt like I was running as hard as I could but my lap pace on the Garmin was showing almost 9:00... so I ran even harder and the time slowly budged down. However, with 0.25 left to go, I still hadn't got down to 8:20. By now I was definitely NOT running aerobically, and definitely NOT in that 80-85% zone of perceived effort where I should have been. I felt I was running 100% and racing towards a finish line with all I had just to make an 8:20 mile. With it I also felt a sense of despair. There was no way I was going to run a sub-1:50 half if I felt like this after only 3 miles at half-marathon pace.

Watch beeped at mile 3 and I was DONE. I didn't attempt mile 4. Incredibly discouraged I did a mile cool down in almost 11:00 and called it a day. I didn't think doing another cool down mile was going to add any value to my run at this point. DONE. DONE. DONE was all I felt. It was over 80 degrees and there were rivers of salty sweat stinging my face and eyes. I just wanted to lay in a pool of cool water and be done.

Drove to the Y, showered and changed... and then I felt completely better and wanted a re-do.

In retrospect, maybe it wasn't all that bad. Really, I need 8:23 pace or faster to make my goal. By my third mile, using 8:23 as the goal pace, I actually had a 13 second deficit. That meant I could have run mile 4 in 8:36 and still have been on goal pace for a sub-1:50. If I had had my head together I would have realized that and tried for a fourth mile, except that hypoxic brains don't reason like that in the moment.

Still... blowing up on a 4 mile run worries me. Maybe it was the heat? I'm running more when it's hot out to try and get heat acclimated. Maybe I need more miles. I'll give myself another week to see how realistic this goal is going to be.

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