IT'S A MARATHON...NOT A SPRINT
We've all heard that phrase used countless times in casual conversation or when being given life advice by those more "knowledge" than us.
While I certainly have no plans of running for and training for a full marathon anytime soon (although I've heard that once you do a half, the urge just sort of shows up out of nowhere), this old adage is still very relevant to my training as of late. You see, my runners high quickly turned into runners panic Monday morning when I awoke to pouring rain, and a radar showing that an outside run would be impossible. Well, not impossible, just really risky and not smart and wet. So, I braced myself to run my first (and longest) treadmill run of the summer. 5 miles.
I went in to it a little nervous, and a whole lot pissed off. After Sunday's epic 9 miler, all I wanted to do was run my normal short and speedy 5.6 route. Now, I would probably be lucky if I was able to get in a mediocre 5 miles on the good 'ole "dreadmill." A funny thing happened the minute I got going on the treadmill, I didn't completely hate it. In fact, I knew within the first mile that this run wasn't going to be like any ordinary run. It was going to be fast and painful and gut wrenchingly hard. Like I don't know if I'm going to throw up or fall off the treadmill first hard.
Running negative splits can be fun, if you turn it into a game and keep reminding yourself that, "the faster you run, the sooner you're done."
I started out my very productive (and probably much needed if I'm being honest) treadmill run at 6.0 mhp. For me, that's right where I need to START to be able to work my way up to a comfortably fast and maintainable pace. So, every 1/2 mile I bumped the speed up by .1. Then, just to test how "in-shape" I actually am these days, I decided to bump the speed up by .1 every tenth of a mile for the entire last mile. While it was immensely difficult and I really did not think I would make it to the end, I DID IT. I ran 5 miles in 46 minutes and 11 second. AVERAGE PACE OF 9:14!!! Who even knows when the last time was that I did that? Cause I sure don't.
As much as I despise running on the treadmill, I must admit that it is a helpful tool when it comes to pacing and speed work. I can't pace myself when I'm running outside at all. And, I don't have one of those fancy watches that will keep me on pace mile for mile. Do they even make watches that do that? Like, tell you "You're at mile 2 now, so you can up your pace to 9:42." Cause that's exactly what I need in my life right now. Me pacing myself basically just consists of me running miles 1-4 like a crazy person and then dragging ass for a mile or two before finally deciding that I "can" pick up the pace. Not the greatest game plan for when it comes to running 13.1 miles...huh?
Running outside today was like a breath of fresh air...filled with humidity and the promise of another downpour.
I was so darn happy to be outside, instead of cooped up in the gym, that I may have (aka definitely did and was very much aware of it) took off a bit fast. Like, OMG THOMAS RHETT JUST MIGHT BE AT ONE OF THE MILE MARKERS BUT I DON'T KNOW WHICH ONE SO TIME IS OF THE ESSENCE fast. When you adjust for elevation (Thank god for Strava!), my first mile was a 9:26. That is a bit much, especially when I was planning on running 6 miles today. You just can't come back from a start like that...because you don't end up slowing down until your body forces you to.
Yet, somehow I kept the good times rolling with a 9:29 mile 2 pace. Clearly, I took full advantage of the super steep downhill right before all the crazy hills. And, the hills apparently didn't phase me today, since I felt the need to run up them like I was being timed or something (which I mean technically I am, but it's not a race or anything to get to the top...there are always going to be more hills to climb!). By the time lap 2 was getting started, I felt absolutely wrecked. Like, I was just now feeling all the pain I had put my legs through both yesterday and Sunday. My legs were hungover and tired, but my mind was convinced that this pain would pass, and things would pick up in on time.
Then, right on cue, came the long struggle filled segment that is the four lance stretch of side walk leading to the mini hill.
Every step I took felt like a huge effort, and accomplishment of some sort. By now, my hips felt incredibly tight and I really did not like my chances of getting to the 6 mile mark. I knew in this moment that I had most definitely pushed to hard on yesterday's treadmill run, but that realization didn't help matters much. I am not exaggerating when I say I pretty much crawled up the mini hill, paused briefly to adjust my ear buds, and drug me feet for the last half mile or so back to the gym. There was no sprinting on the downhill from Casey's to the finish line, I was just trying to make it there without walking.
I was somehow able to run that last .62 miles at 9:38 pace. I think towards the very end, my legs just magically started picking up speed because they were over running and wanted very much to collapse on the ground (and take like a solid month off). I was not impressed with my performance today. It's hard to be happy with running 9:44 average pace when just yesterday you were busting out 9:14 pace with ease. But, I at least know what I need to fix to bring that time down. And overall, I just need to calm the bleep down at pretty much every point during my run. Because, YOU CAN'T FREAKING SPRINT 5 MILES CAITLYN. Let alone 7 or 9 or more. It just does not work like that, it's science (duh).