Monday, February 20, 2012

Longest Run + Fastest Long Run = Good Weekend

Last week was a busy week. After running Monday, I had a planned rest day on Tuesday and then had a meeting Wednesday night and plans for Thursday night. Knowing that I planned to do a long run on Saturday, I made the decision not to run Friday, making for 4 days of inactivity. Sometimes it just doesn't workout to have time to workout.

Saturday arrived and I was ready to go! I checked the weather, geared up and headed out. What is going on? It isn't 35 degrees out like said! Not even close. Last I checked, water bottles don't freeze at 35. I should have known better, but it was windy and miserable. I headed out without gloves ('cause I thought it was 35) and my hands quickly turned bright pink and became sore, even before I started running. I could have went back home, but decided to tuck my hands into my sleeve and continued.

Bite Me Weather Channel

Once I got going, I felt pretty good, with legs that were fresh (and maybe a tad out of practice). I had a plan to run 7 - 12 miles and headed to my favorite road which features a great compacted dirt / sand / gravel mix. After I got warm and my hands stopped hurting, I decided that I was going to go far. Passing the point where I turned around the previous week, I decided to run at least a half marathon distance of 13.1 miles and finally turned around at nearly 7 miles, as I wanted to make sure I could make it home. I hit 13.1 and decided to keep going. 14 sounded like a nice round number and would be my longest run to-date, so I ran until I got there.

Took Sunday off and decided to run at Indian Springs Metropark at the 8 mile long hike / bike trail. The plan was to run 7+ miles at a 9:20 to 9:40 min/mi pace. 35 degrees actually meant 35 degrees today and the sun was a shinin'. It was great! This time, I bundled up a bit more, but the headband and gloves came off pretty quickly.

I started running way too fast. The first half mile was done a an 8 min/mi pace and would have been faster had I not purposely slowed. The rest of the first mile was too fast as well, but most of the rest of the run was done at about a 9:10 pace. This was a pretty comfortable pace - enough to work a bit but not too hard. At about mile 5 or so, I realized that I could finish with a 9 minute pace. I sped up a little until the last half-mile. This is a very uphill portion of the path, but I was able to do it just quickly enough to reach 7.5 miles at exactly a 9 minute/mile pace, according to my Garmin. It was the fastest pace I've ever run over 5 miles.

So, I had my longest run and my fastest long run all in one weekend. Yay! I think all this shows is that I am getting faster, stronger and better. My work is paying off, my training "plan" seems to be working, I am not hurting and I have had good runs for a few weeks.

What I need not to do is 1) not get down if I have any "off days" running in the near future 2) ever be completely satisfied and 3) get crazy in the head and set a kooky goal for the half-marathon next month. My 2 hour goal is reasonable and it should be achievable. What I don't want to do is to get it in my head that I am faster than I really am, go out too fast and fade in the 2nd half of a long race. I am still a long run novice and need to continue to train and to learn. (Yes, it ends up that there is a bit more too it than putting one foot in front of the other, though maybe not too much more. :)

How did your weekend go?

Do you ever get excited about how your training is going?

Should goals be set at an "ideal" or "realistic" level?


  1. Congrats on your two runs but be careful in the future. You don't always want to have great run after great run. Your body gets stronger from being able to recover between the stresses. It doesn't always show up right away, but your body will eventually say it's had enough. Unfortunately I have a few running buds that are in that predicament right now.

    What race are you training for?

    1. Hi Brad,

      I have a 10k and the Rock CF Half Marathon in March. It will be my second race of each distance.

      Thank you for the advice. I am pretty careful (sometimes maybe too much so) to not overdo things and I follow a program, at least "in spirit" if not exactly. I also understand that I won't always have good runs and won't always be setting personal records, but I am encouraged that I am not going "all out" (maybe 7/10 effort this weekend) and still am seeing better results.

      Unfortunately, with my schedule, my running is concentrated Sat - Mon where I try to get in a long, "easy" run and a tempo-type run. I would like to have 2 other runs weekly, but sometimes it is 1 or on occasion none. If nothing else, I get some resting done during the week. I would like to do a speed work day and an easier, recovery day ideally.

  2. Those are some very nice runs....I just LOVE it when things work out that way (because they don't all too often). I agree with Brad, don't get "too happy" or your body might rebel, but it sounds like you have a good head on your shoulders, and are getting better and better at listening to your body and adjusting accordingly !

    1. Thanks for your encouragement here and on Dailymile. I appreciate it! I do think I'm getting both stronger and slightly smarter with practice and am getting better at knowing what I can and cannot do at this point. Took today off even though I felt good enough to run, 'cause something just indicated that was the thing to do.