Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Running to the edge

Today's run (street): 2.5 miles at 8:59

I don't know if I'd call it running fast but I am definitely running with more urgency this week. Instead of falling into my normal pace I've attempted to push myself a little harder, enough to feel like I'm running and not "jogging." My expectations for performance are lower in the early morning, especially when it's hot and humid. Most of the time my pace at 4:00 AM averages about 15-20 seconds per mile slower than when I run at 8:00 AM. I also run slower in the summer months and the combination of these two factors has put me into the mid to high 9:00 range for most of my weekday runs. After reading some recent articles in Runner's World, Running Times and Men's Journal about performance and race training I decided to break free of my default morning pace and run with a constant focus on speed and form. I'm not pushing past my comfort zone but I'm traveling on the edge.

The temperature on the local station said 75 when I went outside but I immediately sensed that the humidity was back in full force. Ignoring that, I set out quickly and managed to keep my pace brisk over the first street that goes slightly uphill before it connects to another road that descends at about the same rate. I noticed that, despite the humid air, the moderate temperature and the lack of sun made for decent running conditions. I pressed on experimenting slightly with my stride and form. I followed some different roads to alleviate the tedium of always keeping to the same streets and that made it interesting. The new route helped distract me enough to maintain a fairly energetic run.

Throughout the run, I concentrated of front foot landing which was not that easy in my Brooks but I managed to land that way more often han not. I also tried to get more lift on my ascending leg while keeping my stride shorter to increase cadence. Sounds pretty technical but it translated to a decent time, just barely under 9:00 minutes, better than almost any other run I've done of late. This weekend I'll be doing a longer run in preparation for the Dirty Sock race and I don't plan to incorporate any speed technique for that. Tomorrow and Friday I will continue to push to the limit -- and hopefully push those limits even further.

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