Today, I was scheduled for my first "long run" since August. My last long run was August 9, when I was in Portland. I ran 10 miles while Thomas biked next to me on a hot morning. It was SO HARD! That was before I started losing weight again, and the extra weight combined with the super hot temps made for a very difficult run. My pace was 10:58. I had forgotten to pack my heart rate monitor, which disappoints me now, because I'm curious to know what my heart rate was during that run!
The weekend after that is when my injury flared up again, so I stopped running for six weeks. And meanwhile, I focused on riding my bike and on losing the weight via calorie counting. I started running again on September 28, and I couldn't believe what a huge difference the weight loss made in how I felt! My pace was 9:46 for my first run in six weeks, which really surprised me.
I was so worried about getting injured again that I decided to stick with short distances (2-3 miles at a time). I've been doing that for two months now, and I feel ready to start building my mileage up. I am training to PR a 10K, so my maximum distance for a long run will be just eight miles, which is nice. Today, though, I was scheduled for four.
I feel kind of silly calling four miles a "long run", but technically, that's what it is on my schedule. My target pace for long runs is 9:18-10:35 per mile. It was pretty cold this morning, so I dressed in my Cold Gear tights and a warm long sleeved top. I used to really dread my long runs (probably because they were so, well, LONG), but today, I was looking forward to it. Four miles isn't far, and at an easier pace, it would be pretty enjoyable. I even decided to take my earbuds with me, so I could listen to music with my phone. (I've been doing that for the last few runs for some reason; I hadn't listened to music while running since early 2013, but I thought maybe it would motivate me as I try to build speed).
As soon as I started running, I could tell it was going to be a great run. I felt light and springy, the air was crisp and cold, and my playlist started off with a favorite Eminem song (Berzerk). I had my sleeves pulled down over my hands, so it wasn't convenient to look at my Garmin; and then I decided that I was going to do the entire run without looking at my pace. I felt really good, and I didn't care if my pace was in the right zone or not, so I just didn't look. I did make sure not to push myself hard, though--I wanted it to be an easy pace and enjoyable, without gasping for breath.
I did a simple out-and-back route, and it went by really quickly! When I was racing the Turkey Trot on Thursday, I was dying and kept hoping it would be over at each turn. But today, listening to music and running in the cold, I wouldn't have minded adding a couple more miles!
When I hit mile four, I stopped my Garmin, and didn't feel super tired or anything. In fact, I felt pretty energetic. Imagine my surprise, then, when I saw that my average pace was 9:06!
After the 5K on Thursday, I was worried about what I was getting myself into with this 10K goal, because it seems like I have SO FAR to go. But I remember when I got relatively fast in late 2012-early 2013, it happened really quickly. Once I started going speed work, my body adapted well and I progressed from a 10:45-ish long run pace to an 8:45 long run pace over the course of about three months. And that was for 12 mile long runs--so, hopefully, considering my long runs are going to be much shorter this time around, I can actually pull this off ;)
Today marked the last day of my first week of 10K training. My first week went really well! I did an easy run; speed work (hitting my target pace); a tempo run (which ended up turning into a 5K race); and a long run. This week coming up looks pretty much the same, except for the race. I'm looking forward to it!
Don't forget to send in your submissions for Motivational Monday! I probably won't be posting tomorrow, so I'm just writing a reminder now. Hope everyone is having a great weekend!