Thursday, March 26, 2009

Racing to run

As I've mentioned in past postings, my morning routine is planned with a similar precision to a space shuttle launch. The alarm goes off at 3:55 AM, I pour my coffee at 3:58, turn on the treadmill at 4:00, put on my shoes and running clothes by 4:05, set up the HRM by 4:06, consume half my Special K bar and 1/3 of my coffee by 4:08 and start my warm-up by 4:09. This gives me approximately 20 minutes to run two miles at target pace before ending with a couple of minutes to cool down and reduce my heart rate.

Some mornings the routine goes flawlessly and I sometimes gain a few minutes and run a little longer. Other times, like this morning, time went by in fast motion and before I had even started my run the clock read 4:12. This left me with only 15 minutes to run, forcing me to get up to speed faster than normal. I ended up running 15:00 at 9:05 (1.66 miles). I thought I'd actually run faster than that but the Garmin doesn't lie (unless I calibrate it wrong). Making things worse was my treadmill display that sputtered out after about 5 minutes. That left me no easy way of monitoring progress and performance short of toggling through my watch settings as I ran. That's fine once or twice during a run but repeating this process soon becomes tedious.

It seems like 9:05 is my new default pace, quicker by far than my average daily performance in 2008, but again, not under 9:00. I could blame my cold and my leg soreness for being off goal pace but I know that I could have pushed harder than I did today. I'm working from my home office tomorrow which will give me an opportunity to run a little later (possibly outside) and longer. If I keep it under 3 miles tomorrow I won't be happy with any pace above 8:59.

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