Wednesday, July 22, 2009

The one after 9:09?

You might recognize the subject of this post as an old Beatle's song. For me it's a question of how I'll do the next time I go out for a run at 4:00 AM compared to the last two days. This early morning outdoor running has been a great enhancement to my overall workout program. I cannot remember the last time I got up at 4:00 knowing that I would need to endure the tedious and percussively loud whine of the treadmill. I appreciate the machine and respect that after more than a decade it still does the job. I built my running fitness with this treadmill over many months. However, respect and affection can be very different things.

Moving from a seven-day-a-week (five on the treadmill) routine to five days running outdoors, one day of elliptical and one rest day schedule has been a big improvement. I've never been much of an outdoors person (ask my wife) but running has changed that. Give me the road and the trails (or, worst case, the track) and I'm happy. I get up excited at 4:00 AM knowing cool conditions and quiet streets await me. The only downside has been that my pace seems to suffer early in the morning, especially compared with my past treadmill experience. Where I was running 8:50 miles on the treadmill I was running 9:30 or slower outdoors. I guess it has to do with the machine providing more help than I thought.

This morning I went out fast and tried to maintain a fluid pace. I knew from experience that feeling like I was moving along quickly can be deceiving at that hour. I ended up covering almost the same distance as yesterday, 2.4 miles, but my pace had improved to 9:09. This is definitely the direction I want and I'm wondering if I can maintain this progress going forward. In the meantime it's another $20 into the Garmin fund for breaking 9:10 before the birds are up.

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