Yesterday was supposed to be a rest day. I planned on resting, but I started to get antsy to go for a run, which is kind of odd--I LOVE my rest days! ;) Since I've been trying to listen to my intuition as far as my running schedule goes, I decided to go ahead and run. At first, I thought I'd just do three easy miles, but it was super nice outside (chilly but sunny, and no wind), and the thought of doing a long run was actually appealing.
I asked the kids if they wanted to go with me (they could ride their bikes while I ran), and Noah wanted to. So we headed to Huroc Park, to take the path into the Metroparks. The last time we did this, it turned out to be a disaster--I planned to run 10 miles, but I just totally crashed at around mile 5.5. That was one of the worst runs I've ever had! I thought it would be kind of fun to run the exact same route, and see how I feel compared to last time (last time, it was crazy hot and humid, so it wasn't exactly a good comparison).
There were a TON of people fishing at the park when we got there. It was nice and sunny outside, so I'm sure they were taking advantage of the good weather as well. I decided to try something new for my long run, which was a workout I got from the 80/20 Running book. It's called "Long run with speed play", and you do 10 x 0.75 miles easy and 0.25 miles hard (a 10-mile run, with the last quarter of each mile run at a hard pace). I've never tried adding speed to a long run before, so it sounded interesting.
I started running at the park, Noah alongside me, and I could have sworn I was running a 10:30 or so pace, but when I glanced at my Garmin, I saw that it was much slower (even with my heart rate in the low 140's). I didn't want to push myself at all during the easy parts, because I wanted to save my energy for the hard parts, so I didn't really pay any attention to my easy pace after that.
Once I hit the 0.75 mark, my Garmin beeped to start running hard. I assumed my hard interval would be slower than usual as well, but I glanced down halfway through and saw my pace was in the 6:00's, so I slowed it down. But I basically ran comfortably hard for the whole thing, and I was happy to see that my times for quarter-mile intervals are still improving.
I wasn't really sure what to expect out of this workout, because I'd never done it before; but surprisingly, it wasn't nearly as hard as I imagined. Three quarters of a mile is a lot of time to recover from a hard quarter, and I ran at a very easy pace to recover.
We did an out-and-back route, so I ran out five miles and then turned around. I'd brought the pickle juice with me today, and the second I started feeling my ab muscles tightening up at around mile 5.5, I drank 2 ounces of the pickle juice. It may have just been a coincidence, but it worked--I didn't get the spasm.
I was surprised at just how good I felt during the entire run. The only parts that felt tough were the first minute or two after each hard interval, but I felt really good otherwise. The miles went by quickly due to the intervals. I finished up the last interval in Huroc Park, and had just completed 10 miles! I was very happy with how it went. I hit a great pace on my hard intervals, and other than a quick stop to down the pickle juice, never had to stop or walk. Woot! MUCH different than the last 10-miler I did on that path.
The average pace of my hard sections was 7:25, which is probably my best pace for 400-meter intervals so far this training period--and they were in the midst of a long run. Not what I expected! I don't think I'd want to do every long run with speed play, but it was a fun change up from the norm, and I would do it again. There are a lot of great workout ideas in the 80/20 Running book, so I'm going to continue to try some out now and then.