Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Fast 7 Mile Run

Some runs do not go as planned.

My alarm is set to wake me up at 5:30am. I intend to start a 6 mile run before it gets too hot. It goes off. I am completely oblivious...and do not wake up until after 6:45. When I realize I will not be ready before 8:00, I contemplate shortening my run to 5 miles. Not having run since Sunday, I start worrying that my legs will rebel...perhaps a 3 miler will be sufficient. I finally step outside at 8:45.

One thing I have realized since I started running again is that I should never let concerns dictate workouts.

For starters, as soon as I step outside, I realize my concern about the temperature is overblown. Yes, the sun is hitting hard, but a breeze compensates for the heat. I start running uphill (as is usually the case) and am not feeling nearly as winded as I expected when I reach the top. When I start downhill, my pace picks up faster than I expect and I complete mile 3 in less than 7 minutes. When I reach the bottom of the hill half-way through my 4th mile, I realize I am on track to match the pace of my 3rd, so, even though I have a half mile ascent ahead, I make the effort to maintain the pace...and actually end up beating it.

Since the ascent continues, I conserve energy over the next mile...but am surprised to see that my pace did not slow as much as I expected. I start thinking about setting a fast 10Km split knowing I cannot match my PR (achieved on a run featuring significantly less elevation change). That said, I anticipate a time better than last year's hilly 10Km race.

I beat it by more than a minute.

To achieve this time, I had turn my ascent into interval training...a benefit of this not being a race day. Just keep in mind that speed was the last thing on my mind before I started today's run. Nor was distance. I feel good enough to add an extra half-mile down- and uphill segment to my workout, so I do without hesitation.

Some runs do not go as planned...and that can be a good thing.

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