Last Wednesday was supposed to be a 45 min run (with 25-30 min at tempo). My goal pace would have been between 6:40-6:45 (average) for 4 miles.
But after deciding to sleep in a bit, my options were either the treadmill or the double stroller. I spent almost the entire winter logging miles on my treadmill in the basement – long runs, intervals, tempos. It was the rare occasion when I would head outside – especially on speed days.
Now that I’ve been running and biking almost exclusively outside, I DREAD the treadmill. And I’ve (re)learned that running outside is harder. A 7:45 pace on the treadmill is much easier (at least for me) than a 7:45 outside. You have to work for every step, every mile. And you can’t zone out the way you can on the treadmill – especially on speed days.
Truth is, I have been forcing myself to get outside as much as I can. I’d rather run slower outside on a daily basis and be ready for my pace on race day then run much faster on the treadmill and walk away from a race disappointed.
It was a gorgeous day (almost 80), minimal wind, and sunny skies.
So I opted for the double stroller even though I knew it was going to be much more painful than a solo run on the treadmill. Realistically, I can’t run the same pace pushing over 50 pounds of little ones + the stoller. But my goal was to push hard and try to keep my pace under 8 for a few miles.
I ran the warmup mile in 8:25 and that pace felt REALLY tough. My legs felt fatigued from the bike ride on Tuesday and I realized I wasn’t really in the mood to feel as uncomfortable as I should during a tempo run.
Mile 2: 7:53. The first fast mile in any sort of speed work is always the hardest for me. It’s a shock to my body. My body wants to slow down and return to an easy pace.
I won’t run on the roads around / by my house with the stroller because of traffic, so I am very limited as to where I can run with the boys. There is a park about a mile from our home that I drive to – there is a paved section of road that is about 3/4 mile long. This has it’s benefits and drawbacks. It’s great because I’m never more than a mile from the car in case one of the boys decides he’s had enough, it has only one small hill, and there is virtually no foot or bike traffic. But it’s tough because I have to have the self control to keep pushing them when we go by the car.
After the 2nd mile, I really wanted to stop. My legs didn’t have the normal kick in them that I’m used to and my mind seemed to be following suit. I convinced myself to run one more out and back loop.
Mile 3: 7:43. My body seemed to be getting used to the faster pace. It still hurt. And I was out of breath. But I FELT stronger. So headed back out for another loop.
Mile 4: 7:45. I began envisioning myself at mile 24 of the marathon for the Ironman in 6 weeks. I know that I will experience pain and discomfort unlike any I have ever known. The more I push now, the less I will hurt on race day. That thought alone kept me moving forward.
Mile 5: 7:39. This one hurt. But, I knew it was the last tempo mile and at a few points, closed my eyes and just pushed. I wanted it to be my fastest mile of the day and was gasping for air by the time my watch buzzed.
Cooldown Mile 6 + .2: 7:55.
6.2 miles (10k) in sub-49 – almost 4 minutes faster than my 10k during last weekend’s Olympic Triathlon.
I finished the run and felt nauseous…but ecstatic. I haven’t pushed that hard on a tempo run in a LONG time.
I’m learning that it’s MUCH more manageable to focus on one workout, one mile at a time.
How did I manage to swim a distance PR and run 20 miles on Saturday followed by a distance PR on the bike and a short run? If I looked at the whole weekend in it’s entirety, I would have scared myself. Instead, I focused on the upcoming workout – and concentrated on getting through it. Once that ONE workout (which on it’s own is manageable) was complete, I would think about the next.
I think the Ironman needs to treated that way. If I’m obsessing over the marathon while I’m at mile 20 of the bike, I am screwed. How will I ever have the motivation to bike another 92 miles when all I am thinking about is the 26.2 miles left to run?
I thought about only the mile I was running during this workout. Once I hit that mile, it was time to focus on the next…and then the next. Before I knew it, I had run 4 tempo miles at a 7:45 pace.
Do you do tempo runs?
Have you had a run recently where you pushed harder/faster than you thought possible?
How do you manage hard/long runs?