Friday, August 28, 2009

Speed or comfort - choose one

Due to weather and a fairly tight schedule I skipped my workout today. So far this vacation week (since Saturday) I've logged 22.5 miles with 6.2 coming from last week's Dirty Sock 10K race. I'm supposed to run the trails tomorrow with my nephew who is on the local track track team but they're calling for rain so we'll likely need to postpone that. If that's the case I might work in a run a little later or get on the elliptical for the first time in a couple of weeks.

I was hoping to run some intervals today because my speed has been suffering and I've recently read in Runner's World that speed work can be helpful for building endurance. While I have no problem getting out and running, even during hours that people consider more as night than morning, I have been less than stellar in terms of rigorous conditioning. I suspect that's the reason why I have hit the wall in terms of progress on improving my pace. I know that being a committed runner involves different runs for different reasons. Sometimes it's about speed, sometimes it's about hills and sometimes it's about endurance over long distances. I've defaulted to running at a natural gait which appears to be around 9:30 per mile although I know I am capable of sustaining a sub-9:00 pace over four or five miles.

Some of the reason for this default is likely due to a change from running with AG on a weekly basis to primarily running alone. AG is a stronger and faster runner and though she's never chastised me for my pace I was more inclined to push myself when we ran together than I do when running alone. Another factor is the temperature and humidity. Heat has always affected my performance and, combined with the glaring sun, it can be debilitating. As the summer wanes and the cooler temperatures return I suspect my pace will return closer to 9:00 and below. In the meantime I am committed to working harder to push my pace regardless if I'm running alone or not.

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