What keeps us going at a reasonably fast speed for 26.2 miles or 42.2 kilometres? I asked myself that question this morning while I was doing my 16 miler. As I did my best to hold on to near 3:10 marathon pace, I wondered how the hell I pulled this off last year. Why did it feel easy last year and hard today?
Okay, it's about another 16 weeks till I'm supposed to 'peak', so I can take a little bit of solace in the training to come, but it's a mystery to me sometimes how that while I run all year long, the difference between running and training is pretty stark.
The plan today was 8 miles at marathon pace, which for me is about 4:30 kilometres to 4:37 kilometres (4:30Ks = 7:15 miles). For some stupid reason, I only warmed up for one kilometre before launching into it, maybe because I was impatient and wanted to get the run over with.
My first two of 13 kilometres at pace were pretty lacklustre. My legs were still not warmed up and I think I was still trying to judge what 4:30 was actually like. Like other runners, I have various gears: slow long distance, general aerobic, sprightly (that's when I feel like going a little faster), marathon pace, tempo pace, 5K race pace. I felt I was at marathon pace but really I was running somewhere between sprightly and MP.
Long story short: Found 4:30ish pace by the third kilometre and was able to hold the pace for the next 11. Had to give some effort but somewhere in the middle of the run, I started to feel again what I'll get in a few months. Comfortable. In 16 weeks, this pace should be comfortable. Today, it was a little too comfortably hard.
And maybe I should fuel better and get a little more than 5 hours sleep before key runs.
I ran the rest of the run at recovery. So needed that.
16 miles in 2:08:51
Weekly mileage: 56 miles (90K)
Month to date: 198 miles (319K)
Year to date: 915 miles (1473K)