Wednesday, October 12, 2016

Breaking the nine minute ceiling

Can you tell I ran faster?
Today's run (street): 3.2 miles
Monday's run (street): 3.25 miles

Two very different holidays this week provided me opportunities for weekday runs. My company was closed for Columbus day so I had a nice three day weekend and was able to fit in an extra workout. I took advantage of being home and accompanied my daughter to her college to hang out before her classes started. It was great spending time with my her. Even with that, I got home early enough to get out for a run before 8:30.

Conditions were chilly, 50° with 14 MPH winds, making it feel like low 40's. With those strong winds, I kept my expectations moderate, but I found the conditions energizing. I haven't radically changed my approach to my running, but I'm increasing my effort a lot more right now. Over the past few years I've slipped into an easy running style. Some of this was due to carrying extra weight, making any level of effort feel hard. I'm now at the same weight that I was when I was running faster. There's definitely a correlation between weight and performance.

I finished my run and calculated my true pace (elapsed time and Gmap'd distance) and saw that I'd averaged 10:08 per mile. On many people's scale that might look slow, but for me it was a big improvement over where I was a month ago. My goal right now is to run consistently in the 9's (9:59 is okay) but according to Garmin Connect, I haven't broken 10 minutes on a run since December 2014. That was the Jingle All the Way 5K that I ran shortly before I suffered a herniated disc.

Today was a different holiday, Yom Kippur. This is a day when the observant fast and atone and the non-observant think about life and get in a few miles. I didn't go out with expectations of speed and would have been glad just to come close to Monday's pace. The weather was cool but a little humid (87%) and I gave no thought to my performance until I came through my first mile a few ticks over ten minutes. That made me think I had a real chance of breaking the 9:00 ceiling.

I maintained this level of effort and noticed that my heart rate was still at 75% of max so I stepped it up to 81% through the second mile and did the last mile (my fastest) at 86%. The highest I got was 88% so I know I have  more to draw on. I ended up breaking into the 9 minute range on this run, with an overall pace of 9:48.

I'm going to try to consistently hit high 9's before I start thinking about even greater performance. Getting in some extra runs and miles has helped. My biggest challenge right now is to keep that going. Tomorrow Adventure Girl and I will do a trail run near my office. I can't remember the last time we ran together, but it's been years. Me and my family are excited to see her and catch up on her wild life in Montana. AG taught me almost everything I needed to know about running when I took it up in 2008. I look forward to more lessons tomorrow.

4 comments:

  1. have a great visit with AG.. and congrats on your new pacing!

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    Replies
    1. Thanks TPP. Looking forward to seeing you on 10/23 :-)

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  2. Have fun tomorrow! And congrats on your improvement. You could also chalk it up to more time running, less time stalking deer and turkeys.

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  3. I only stalk people. I admire deer and turkeys.

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