A short post brought to you by this morning’s workout and also by procrastination, i.e., Day 5 of “I’ll do my taxes… tomorrow!”
I’ve been running plenty of hills in preparation for the Big Sur International Marathon, so I thought it would be fun to change it up today with a speed workout. It’s been ages since I last did mile repeats — Christmas Eve 2013, in fact! — so I headed to my neighborhood track for 3 x 1 mile with 1/4 mile rest intervals. I had no idea what pace to run, though the McMillan calculator suggested something in the 8:13-8:31 range. Regardless of pace, my goal was to try to find a happy medium between working hard while also running a consistent pace over 3 repeats.
The first mile repeat felt relatively effortless for the first 3 (out of 4) laps, clocking in at 8:26. I couldn’t believe how relaxed and steady I felt at what is approximately my 5K PR pace (8:27/mile)! I got distracted during the 2nd repeat and had to work hard to make up for a slow first lap, finishing that mile at 8:23. The 3rd and last repeat was tough, but I had found a rhythm/strategy, which was to relax during the curves and hammer it home during the straightaways. I completed the 3rd mile in 8:24, averaging 8:24.33 for all 3 repeats.
Jogging home, I felt satisfied with the consistency and pace of my repeats. However, it wasn’t until I entered the splits into my training spreadsheet that I realized how much faster I’ve gotten over the years. Here’s the comparison:
- April 2012: 9:22, 9:28, 9:12; Average: 9:20
- February 2013: 8:47, 8:51, 8:47; Average: 8:48
- April 2014 (Today): 8:26, 8:23, 8:24; Average 8:24
I’m not writing about this to brag (OK, maybe I am, just a little bit – haha). Lately, I’ve been of the (negative) mindset that I’m not improving or getting faster. This data clearly states otherwise, at least when it comes to mile repeats. Anyway, it made me realize that one of the values of keeping a training log/spreadsheet is that it reminds you of where you’ve been, how far you’ve come, and also lets you dream about where you might be 1-2 years in the future. It’s also a good reminder that hard work and consistent training can yield steady improvements. Sometimes, a little perspective goes a long way.