Perspective

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.

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About

Howdy! My name is Jen and I live in the San Francisco Bay Area. I like to eat, run, and blog, but not usually at the same time.

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Posted in random, Training
10 comments on “Perspective
  1. Grace says:

    Nice work! I’ve kept a training log (a rudimentary, one-line-a-day thing in an old school notebook!) since 2011. The data doesn’t lie!

  2. Cathryn says:

    Firstly…yeah, well done. Cracking results! You should be well chuffed with that!

    Secondly, yes regarding training logs. Last year was the first year I did so, via Daily Mile, and it was so helpful before my goal half-marathon in March to look back at long run data before my last PR half-marathon and see that I was at least as fast as I was then, if not a little faster. It really gave me confidence!

    • Jen says:

      Thanks! And agreed re: pre-race assessment using training logs. It’s often easy to doubt or be overconfident about our preparations. One look at training history can help clarify the situation!

  3. Angela says:

    Well done! This is why I think it’s good to record & track this stuff — you can look back over the months & years & see real evidence of change. Definitely encouraging when you feel like you aren’t seeing any improvement!

    • Jen says:

      Thanks, Angela! I also think I started to take current training paces for granted (like, OF COURSE I should be running that fast, or faster) — but looking at data from 1-2 years ago helped me to be grateful for the improvements that I’ve made.

  4. BT says:

    Congrats! That’s great news and an impressive improvement.

  5. Wow, this is really inspiring to read! You have definitely gotten a lot faster. I’ve actually never done a timed mile but now I want to try it! Congrats on your improvement!

    • Jen says:

      Thank you, Jan! Timed miles and mile repeats are pretty painful, but they’re pretty useful for improving speed and mental strength. I highly recommend it!

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On the docket…

9/17/17 – Alameda Half Marathon
10/1/17 – Tiburon Half (2:20 pacer)

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