Sunday, April 13, 2014

Can 16 Miles Be Effortless?

If someone had asked me that question when I was preparing for my first marathon and blogging back in 2010, I would have answered with a question, "What are you talking about?"

Today, however, I found that this can be done.

I went to the NCR trail and started around 5:39.  Ran 4 miles alone on a dark trail but I could see enough to run safely.

Then, I met up with the person I was running with this week, and we ran another 12.  So, I saw the second of the trail from the parking lot on Paper Mill Rd to two miles north of there four times this morning (twice going north and twice coming south).  The other 8 miles were between mile 2.5 and mile 6.5 on the trail once.

It was great.  My overall average pace was 8:33.  I've run other paces like 8:00 or faster for that distance on that course before.  There is a very big difference.

While I sweated this morning and it was already in the 50's and the last mile or so was noticeably more humid than the rest of the course, I felt under control and it was easy to have a conversation the whole time.  While I can have a conversation at 8:00 or faster per mile, it is much easier to have a conversation at 8:33.  What is interesting is that I have heard "conversational pace" since 2010.  But, I am now taking it much more seriously.  And it makes a difference.  My heart rate was back down below 80 about 20 minutes later.  

What a difference!

It puts a totally new light on my training.  Training is not always about going as fast as possible--or even as fast as feels comfortable.  Sometimes proper training is about having patience.  About doing the right workout to achieve a long-term goal.  About self-control  And recognizing that there are truly reasons for each step of training at different levels of intensity.  And those levels of intensity are not just "recommendations".  Rather those are "follow these" to improve.

By the way, today's run puts me up to 600.4 miles total for the year.  It places me still on Indiana Route 46 approaching a town called Nashville, IN.  Next recognizable town--Bloomington!

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