Laced up the marathon shoes today to see how the body would respond to running the potential paces that could be thrown at me Sunday, should I end up racing. If I do take to the line, the provisional plan is to take the pace rather than make the pace. This is new territory for me, as during longer races like this (10 miles) I generally end up settling in to the front of a group and staying there. If others want to run the same pace, that's fine and welcome, but I like being the one making the subtle shifts in tempo depending on how I'm feeling at the front rather than responding to others doing the same thing. However, this time out it seems like there's a pretty good group of 3-4 guys who will most likely be leading the charge while I try to either hang on or stay in reach. It's fun when I get faster, but not so much when other local runners eclipse my own gains.
I emailed Mystery Coach and suggested running a few mile repeats around 5:30 pace and working down to 5:20 or so if I felt good, and he came back with a plan that called for 2-3 miles at 5:50-5:55 pace, 10 minutes easy, then 3x1 mile at 5:35, 5:25 and 5:15 with one mile recoveries. At first this sounded a bit tough, but I figured it would be a good indicator of whether or not racing should even be a consideration at this point.
After warming up for a short mile I got to it with a 5:54, a 5:45, then a half mile at 5:44 pace before easing off. Doing these on the roads before dawn made checking the pace difficult, which partially explains the speeding up. The first mile felt the worst, and while the whole effort felt a little harder than it would have a few weeks ago it wasn't all that bad.
I took about 10 minutes to jog to the track for the repeats, and of course grey-sweatshirt-with-headphones-guy was there. He generally runs 3 or 4 miles, shuffling in lane one and never yielding for anyone doing workouts. He's less than a quarter mile from Sabino Canyon and its miles of hilly trails and beautiful scenery, yet he chooses to shuffle along here with his head down. At least the guy who chooses to walk his dog on a long leash around the track was missing today.
5:32, 5:24, 5:13. It took some concentration to land the last one, as I really felt klunky once I got under 5:20 pace. The feet seemed to stick to the ground and the fists were clenched tight, but at least I was still able to manage the pace. Afterwards an easy 2 miles home gave me 12 on the day.
Tomorrow I see the doc, and with luck he'll take it easy on me and give me the official green light to exert myself again.
Training: Today, 12 miles, 1:16:02, 6:21 pace, w/2.5 mile effort at 5:54, 5:45, 5:44(.5), 10 minutes easy, then 3x1 mile in 5:32, 5:24, 5:13 (.75-1 mile rest)
Yesterday, 10 miles, 1:08:29, 6:50 pace