Friday, May 8, 2009

Keeping my distance

Up until this March I was focusing much of my run strategy on building distance. As a relatively new runner I felt that I needed to establish a baseline for progress and that meant adding more length to my weekend runs. I was tracking very well through February and, though it's the shortest month of the year, I totaled more miles than any previous month. Once March rolled in my strategy changed as I focused on my April race. I put more attention to speed and pace and less on distance. My weekend runs that were averaging between 4 to 5 miles became shorter and faster. Prior to March my average pace was about 9:30 per mile and since April it's been under 9:00/mile. I'm pleased with my progress and with the results. My two races clocked in with pace times well under nine minutes.

Since my next race is 5 miles it's necessary for me to refocus on distance training. I'm okay about giving up some speed to do this but I'm concerned about finding a training route near my home that allows me to cover 5+ miles without the tedium of repeating many of the same roads. The issue is psychological. The farther away I am from the finish, the easier it is for me to run distances. Once I come close to my home I begin to fade in anticipation of stopping. In the past I've been able to will myself to take a longer path back when I'm near home but lately I've just headed in, usually after 3 to 4 miles. I used to trick myself by running up and down parallel streets to build more distance in a tighter area that was relatively far from my endpoint.

The alternative is to go to the track and pre-establish a circuit with no stopping until I hit 20 laps. I have done this a number of times and while it is a solution it can also be mind numbingly boring. I'm thinking that, for tomorrow, I'll map out a route in my neighborhood that will allow me to cover 5 miles without traveling the same road twice that won't come close to my home until the very end. I'll incorporate neighborhood #2 to gain an extra mile or two. As for pace, I'll let nature take its course.


  1. I would rather run down the middle of the L.I.E. during rush hour then do 20 laps on a track. Good luck finding a nice route by your house!

  2. Ha! Of course during rush hour a runner would be the fastest moving object on the LIE.


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