Friday, March 20, 2009

Spring training

Today is the first day of spring, marking the end of my second season (fall and winter) as an emerging runner. I'm pleased with the progress I've made in the past six months and now, with 29 days to my first race, it's time to get serious about training.

It's interesting to think about the benchmarks I've passed since last September. Not long ago I struggled through my first mile and I'm proud to say I can now run more than five. My training approach has been anything but scientific but I like the way things have worked out. Back in December, when I signed up for the May 5K race, I was barely able to run three miles. Before I do that race I'm facing a 4 miler in April with no concerns about the distance. The goal now is pace and that's where the training comes in.

Two of my running advisors, CK and CMC, have given me great guidance on using speed work to increase fitness. I read blogs from other runners who are much more disciplined about these methods and this explains why they run 6 and 7 minute miles and I don't. I just like to run and by integrating some faster paces into my normal pacing I've been able to improve my overall pace. I'll start stepping that up this weekend and will try again to run over four miles at under 9:00 per mile.

This morning I achieved that pace at half the distance, running 2.01 miles at 8:46 per mile. I felt like I could have sustained or even exceeded that pace if I had time to run a couple more miles. Some of that comes from conditioning and some comes from the fact that I only did upper body exercise yesterday. I'm beginning to appreciate rest days as a training tool.

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