Mr. Mojo Risin
My marathon mojo has been on hiatus when it comes to my running. I'm hard on myself which is either a curse or blessing when it comes to pushing myself as a runner. Regardless, it's like I've had diesel in my gas tank or vice versa. Summer was a good one as my marathon "time off" turned me into a triathlete--so much for "taking time off."
As I've been reading Runner's World's Run Less, Run Faster based on the FIRST Training program, it promotes three quality runs a week blended with cross-training. I've been toying with the concept the last couple of months. I stopped by this weekend to pick up some of my new favorite Hammer Huckleberry Gel (that was not a paid endorsement*) and the runner behind the desk asked what I was training for. "I'm in my pre-training training" I replied. She looked confused, but it's rather straightforward...I'm not in the midst of a (16 week) marathon training plan, but working on ramping up my speed and conditioning to take on the 16 week plan.
My runs earlier last week consisted of a tempo run by turning up the speed dial to sub-seven minute miles. The second run was goal pace miles cranking up to 7:35 mile pace miles. The runs were separated by a one mile swim. WTF???? That's not a typo. Saturday was a (short) long run of eight miles. Long runs by FIRST and most marathon training plan definitions are around 30 seconds slower than your intended marathon goal pace. I started with a warm-up mile of an 8:10 pace, then settled into a 7:53 pace.
Nothing special...no medals...no crowds, but this was a good one. 7:53 felt quite comfortable. I'd strapped on my Garmin HR monitor and watched as I started in my Zone 1 (less than 135 HR) and gradually edged into Zone II (around 142.) Afterwards, I'd synch my Garmin and find out I'd averaged 136. One digit over the top of my zone one.
What does that all mean? My sub eight minute pace seemed effortless yet was at a BQ pace. My heart rate was way below the "shit hits the wall" lactate threshold. All good. While only eight miles, this was a huge boost to my confidence. Despite the temptation to run faster and run more days faster, I will stick to the discipline of my pre-training training.
One more month of this, a couple holiday weeks of laying low, then I will commence my first marathon training program in a year. Game on.
4) Double bonus question: why the sudden drop in HR around the 20 minute mark?