It’s funny. I’ve been running for years and I’ve never really been “THAT” consistent with my splits during training. Race day is a different situation as you find yourself surrounded by similar paced runners, but when I’m running during the week, I tend to be all over the place.
Let’s take a look at how I’m trying to FIX that.
I don’t necessarily start out “too fast.” If anything, I tend to start off “slower” for the first few miles until my legs loosen up. Then I’ll typically channel into a specific place and hold it there for the middle miles, then fade at the end. As you can likely guess, this is NOT the best way to prepare for race day.
Mixing Up the Speed
I’ve started working in some speed work in various ways. From tempo runs to track work, I’ve started taking a look at how I’m approaching each run. Rather than just heading out the door and logging a distance, I’m making a conscious effort to have a “goal” for that particular run, even if it’s 30-seconds faster on the average.
Laps, Laps, Laps
I obviously have not figured this out in a month. It’s a work in progress and it will likely take some time to develop my race pace and train my muscles to hold onto it. On Sunday, I headed over to the track to try to DRILL into my mind and legs what a 7-min pace feels like. No stop lights, no distractions, just me and lane 4.
A mile on a track definitely feels much longer than a mile anywhere else. I broke it down to 1:45 seconds each lap — run four of those, and that’s my 7-min. mile. Sounds simple enough, but it wasn’t. The first mile was at 6:52 and it felt fast. I knew that I was going too fast into the last lap and slowed down a bit. I probably would have come in under 6:40 if I held onto my previous pace.
The second and third miles were pretty consistent at 7:04 and 7:05. Although it was above what my goal was, I should be happy with the consistency. The problem was that both of those miles felt completely different. The second mile I started off too quickly again and tried to slow it down the last lap, but pulled back too much. The third mile I tried to get it below or at 7 and ended up with the same time. Weird.
I made a conscious effort to get the number back below 7 and over-corrected too much.
If you want to go fast, then go fast. I was getting frustrated with my pace being up, then down and knew this was likely going to be the last mile with the sun going down and it getting colder, so I just let loose and ran. As you can see, I need to work on what 7 feels like.
The average is great, but I want to be able to hit 7-min splits by muscle memory when it comes time to race in Phoenix. That’s the goal.
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Don’t forget, the giveaway for a FREE entry to PHX ends Tuesday night.
The full is on pace to sell out early, use code PAVEY10 for 10% off on the full or the half marathon.
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Do you keep a consistent pace on training runs?