Speed workouts - what are those? Certainly not something I've really been pushing on myself. I've noticed that my average pace in the past month tends to float somewhere between 10:30 and 11:00 min/mi, whether it's for a 3 mile weekday run or a 9 mile long weekend run.
So this morning I decided to focus on my speed during today's 3 mile run. I didn't really plan any formal speed workout like intervals or a fartlek or anything, I just wanted to push myself beyond a "comfortable" jog.
To help me with this, I left the iPod at home and just took the Garmin and off I went. Without tunes to distract me, I could really pay attention to my breathing and the rhythm of my feet and all that. I started off at a good pace but I avoided checking the numbers on my watch. It didn't feel like sprinting but I did wonder if I would be able to keep it up for the whole run.
Mile 1: 10:01
That felt about right. I tend to have a decent pace for the first mile and then sort of slow down from there.
For the second mile, I just tried to maintain the same pace. During this mile, there's a small hill that I go down in the first half and then back up during the second part. (I do an out-and-back run on the trail.)
I definitely slowed down when I went uphill but tried my best to recover quickly and get back on pace.
Mile 2: 9:51
Huh??? I was really surprised by this but then I figured that me flying down the hill helped make up the slack for the slower pace later on when I went up the hill.
So now I have one mile left and I'm thinking, hey, this is pretty cool - if I can just manage another ~9:50 mile, then I'll have a sub 30:00 time for my 3 mile run! Off I went, again just trying to focus on my breathing and maintaining pace. The effort was definitely a lot harder and my heart rate was sky high. And of course, the last mile seemed to take forever!
Once I noticed I had about 0.1 mi left, I picked it up even further. A quick glance at my watch told me that I should be able to finish in under 30:00 so I sprinted as best as I could to lock it in.
Finally - 3.0 miles! I hit stop and started the cool down. All I saw was that my final time started with a "2" so I was happy.
It wasn't until I was back home stretching that I decided to check out the digits.
Mile 3: 8:55
Total: 3.0 miles, 28:49, 9:36 pace
Say whaaaa??? I just wanted to finish with a 9:50 mile, I wasn't expecting a sub 9:00 mile! And to shave a whole minute / mile on my average pace is HUGE for me!
Anyway, in addition to my successful run this morning, I also took Spinning on Monday. I might squeeze in another quick run tomorrow morning but given that I have not packed yet for my red-eye flight tomorrow night and I have lots of work to wrap up before I depart, I'm guessing this might be it before the 5K and 15K this weekend.