Tuesday, August 29, 2006

Closing in on Marathon Pace

I've been working my way down to running marathon pace (or what I hope to be marathon pace) at least once a week. Today's run followed a very rough night, with Finn waking up a few times and me getting to bed late after working too long with a new piece of guitar gear. I was so tired I slept through the coffee maker beeping, and I forgot to set my alarm. As a result, I didn't get out on the roads until 6:30 or so (gasp!).

Today I was hoping to run 7 miles around 6:03 pace or so, on my way down to what will eventually be 5:54-5:56 pace by the end of my build. After a two mile warm up it went down like this: 6:02, 6:00, 6:02, 5:57, 5:56, 5:57, 5:55. I didn't feel the effort or my breathing until about the 4 1/2 mile mark, and even then things didn't get too bad. I broke out my "fast" shoes, the Asics DS trainers, and that probably helped me a little with the workout. I run fairly quietly in these shoes, and their slipper-like fit and lower heel height let me tune into my stride a bit more (in fact my calves are reminding me about that lower heel height right now). What I noticed today is that I'm "bouncing" a little too much at 6 minute pace. In other words, I need to work more on driving forward with each stride instead of coming up off the ground so much. At 5:30 pace and below I tend to adjust automatically, but since I'm hoping to run the marathon around 6 minute pace I guess I need to focus on my form at this specific speed. The hill phase usually helps with this "driving forward". All in all it was a great workout, and I feel so much better doing this than I did about a month ago.

After I was going nuts analyzing my fatigue during my longer runs, the coach I've been emailing with brought up the change in my training paces from a year ago. This same week last year I ran 94 miles with an average pace of 7:21, while this year I ran 91 miles at 6:52 pace. Running an average of 30 seconds per mile faster should make me tired I guess, so I'm feeling better about things with that in mind.

This is it for now, as I'm between painting door number one and door number two on Finn's closet. Back to work.

Training: 10 miles, 1:03:11, 6:19 pace, with 7 miles at marathon pace in 6:02, 6:00, 6:02, 5:57, 5:56, 5:57, 5:55. Felt great.


Eric said...

You'll begin to 'acclimate' to this moderate pace pretty quickly. I noticed the first few times I would dip under 6:00 pace for longer than a few miles it seemed more like a tempo run than it should have. After a couple of those runs, the effort smoothed out. I noticed it correlated with heart rate as well.

Nice run.

Mike said...

I'm hoping you're right Eric. Hopefully you'll acclimate to that damn bike seat soon too. I yearn for the day when I can truly call 6 minute pace "moderate". I guess I'm getting there.