Thursday, December 10, 2009

My problem is imprecision

Much about running is related to precision and consistency. The difference between a 2:03:57 marathon finish time and a 2:04+ time is huge. When I finished my 8K this summer in 44:30 I thought I'd nailed it under 9:00 per mile. Before I finished my post race banana I realized that 8K is actually 4.96 miles and my finish time actually reflected a 9 minute pace. I guess that's why people run intervals, do hill work and fartleks. It's all about squeezing that extra few seconds that makes the difference between a PR and a run. I believe that runners become better at maintaining consistency over time and one of the things that separates an emerging runner like myself from an established runner is that consistency. While I may run 3+ miles at 8:45 on one day, the next day I may find myself in the mid-9's for no reason that I can understand. Those runners who I look to for guidance on running can generally nail whatever pace they wish on each run.

A while back I stopped checking my pace during my runs because I felt it put too much pressure on me and detracted from my enjoyment of the experience. I was thinking that this change had made me a slower runner, but upon reviewing my times from earlier in the year, I've discovered that not to be true. I'm generally faster now but my range of paces is wider. This morning I set out to run at whatever pace felt right. I wasn't energized, that's often the case at 4:00 AM, but I tried to step it up after a while. In the end I only managed 9:31 per mile while on an almost identical run earlier this week I was closer to 9:00. I may resume checking pace during runs for a while to see if I can maintain greater consistency while I work on bringing down my pace. That's precisely what I need right now.


  1. I recently (on my shorter runs) stopped carrying my watch with me. I listen to my body, and I KNOW if I have a good run or not. Great post bud. Keep em coming. Precision is great though, as I (since I started seriously running) often find myself timing everything under the sun. lol. Have a good one.

  2. I'm a big fan of measurement. I still feel that a run that isn't recorded doesn't really count. I sometimes wish I could just go out and run and leave the Garmin behind. Perhaps that's evolutionary state I haven't yet reached.


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