On Friday morning I tweeted, “7.7 miles in 1:10 Funny how I’m simultaneously shocked by the fact that I am making my paces & also wondering if I should set a tougher goal”.
Since then it has been something that I can’t help but think about.
Yet, I have decided not to alter my goal of running a 9:00 min/mile pace at my upcoming half marathon. For the balance of this training cycle, I will embrace the pace.
There are a few reasons why I have made this decision:
My goal race is one month away. I am at a point in my training cycle where workouts are becoming longer and more challenging. Increasing my goal pace at this point could have a negative impact. It could add too much pressure to my training, lead to injury, or it may have no impact at all. It may, at this point, be simply too late to start focusing on increasing my fitness to that degree.
Admittedly, however, my fear of injury is the greatest. I want to run a great race on March 17th and while I want to push myself in my training, I don’t want to increase the risk injury in the process.
My “easy pace” hasn’t really gotten much faster. I am still running my recovery runs at a pace of about 10:20, and my long runs average at a pace of about 10:00. I tend to find the first three miles of any 10+ mile run the hardest, and run slowly for those first few miles to warm up (usually between 10:20-10:40 min/mile). After that, my legs start to wake up and my pace increases, often suddenly and substantially into the mid- and low 9’s per mile. Yet, at the end of the long run, I tend to still average a pace of about 10:00 min/mile.
Setting a race pace of approximately 1:00 min/mile faster than my comfortable long run pace average seems practical. It seems realistic. And it instills confidence. It just feels doable.
My training this cycle has been less than perfect. Part of the reason why I am so excited (and so surprised) to be making my paces during speed workouts is because I had to take so much of January off from running. I sat out the first week of this training cycle entirely. And during week two, I only ran the miles. I didn’t add speed training until the third week.
I feel fortunate, and also thrilled, to be performing so well during these challenging workouts. And sometimes I need to remind myself that I am, in many ways, still coming back. So the fact that I am doing so well is a huge accomplishment.
While it may also be an indicator that I can handle more, there will be plenty more races in my future, and I can kick up my training for any number of those.
So what does all of this mean?
Well, it probably means that I will be running a second half marathon this spring.
I haven’t chosen another race yet. I was considering the More/Fitness Women’s Half Marathon, but I was disappointed by that race last year. Moreover, given the experience that I had, I feel that it is a difficult race to PR in. It is also one week before the Brooklyn Bun, a 15k which I am considering as another goal race for this spring.
If anyone can recommend a good half marathon in the northeast in early or mid-June, I am very open to suggestion.
For more information on how to set a goal pace for an upcoming race, check out this link:
Pace Calculators (Runner’s World)
My little disclaimer: I am not a doctor or medical professional; nor am I a certified personal trainer. The information provided in this post is a description of my own experience and opinions. What works for me may not work for you. If you are interested in beginning a new exercise routine, please contact your physician.