Wednesday, October 17, 2012

BHM Training: The Long Slow Distance

I'm behind on the weekly training recaps, and it seems silly to backtrack just to tell y'all that I missed yoga last week, that speed work has been hit or miss, and that Saturday morning kettlebell destroys my legs each and every time. Instead, I'm going to focus on my last three long runs - mostly because I'm pretty proud of them. 

The standard goal pace for a long, slow distance (which I have gathered from very scientific journals, such as Runner's World and blogs) is that it should be 60-90 seconds slower than your goal race pace. Since I'd like to run the Battleship Half Marathon in 1:55 (which would be a new PR by three minutes) I'm aiming to run about 8:45 minute miles. Therefore, my long run pace should be between 9:45 and 10:15.

Three weeks ago, I ran 11 miles at an average pace of 10:44. Not even close to a 10:15 pace. I remember that run clearly - it was raining hard during the first few miles, and once the rain stopped it was warm and humid. Not the most pleasant experience.

Last week, I ran 12 miles at an average pace of 10:12. Much better, and right on target. It was cool that morning - the temperatures had dropped about 15 degrees over the weekend - and I had been looking forward to the time on my feet.

Today, I had 13 miles on my training plan. It was cold and cloudy out. The dogs were jerks on our morning walk. I was tired and sluggish. I had a lot of school work to do, and I had to work at the wine store at 4pm. I didn't feel like running, but I knew this was one of my last chances for a long run before the race. So I put my run off for an hour, drank some water, graded a stack of papers, and charged my iPod shuffle. I rarely run with music, but I knew I'd need the extra motivation today. I decided not worry about my pace - to just focus on getting the miles done. And then I was off.

Two hours and eleven minutes later, I was done. 13 miles. Average pace? 10:05! Huzzah! I'm not sure where that came from, especially considering the mood I was in when I started running, but I think the music definitely helped. I also got a mid run boost from some Clif Shot Bloks - I had half a package at mile 6, and the rest at mile 9. I don't usually eat anything while I run (though I almost always take a water bottle, even if it's just a three miler) unless I'm marathon training. I figured 13 miles was long enough to warrant a snack, and I was right. I could feel myself starting to get tired, but as soon as I ate the Bloks, I felt revived and re-energized. (Psychosomatic? Maybe. As long as it works, I don't care.)

Needless to say, that run left me feeling like I might actually have a chance of PRing at the Battleship Half Marathon. At any rate, I'll find out in 18 days, when I take my place at the starting line.