Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Trading pace for pleasure

I was woken up around 1:30 this morning and noticed that the rain was coming down hard. I went back to sleep hoping that whatever storm was passing through would be long gone by 4:00 AM. When my alarm clock went off my first thought was a concern that the rain was still there. If so, I'd have little choice but to remain indoors and run on the treadmill. Happily things were clear and I made way outside to run in the cool misty air.

It's been a long time since I've done an indoor run. Between my early outdoor runs in the dark, weekly rest days and elliptical workouts I've managed to avoid the dreaded tread. The last time I ran on it I had a fairly pleasant experience but most of the other times it was near torture. Now that I'm doing all my runs on trails and pavement I've noticed my average pace has suffered compared with where it was months before. I'll blame that on the treadmill too. Even though I disliked the experience the actual performance metrics were more impressive with most of my indoor runs clocking well below a 9:00 pace.

Still, I'll take the tradeoff of loving the run versus loving the pace. I've always felt that treadmill paces were artificially low because the motion of the tread does some of the work for you. This morning I hit the streets at 4:09 and ran a little over 22 minutes covering 2.43 miles. Although I tried to push it and really felt that I did I only averaged 9:12/mile for the run. When I compare this focused effort on a relatively flat route to yesterday's 8:49/mi Central Park run with lots of hills I'm a bit puzzled. No matter, 9:12 at is the fastest time I've done for a very early morning outdoor run. I'll call that progress.


  1. Its all relative, isnt it. SOmeone is always faster than you... my personal best is not astounding, but its mine. Yet I feel the need to break that barrier. What kind of presure is still fun yet a challenge, I think is a great question. :D

  2. The key is finding that perfect balance between enjoyment and progress. I have different goals for every run, sometimes I'm willing to suffer and other times it's all about the fun.


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