I RAN 8 MILES TODAY! And it wasn't really all that hard. The only pause I took was after 5 miles for a sip of Gatorade and I was off jogging again. (I'm trying to simulate the water stations...or get used to the idea of a water break.) At this point in my training speed and times do not matter to me at all. I want to run at a pace that is less than 12 minutes per mile on the day of the Shamrock. I don't really have much to go off of except that when I did the Ashland Railroad Run 10k... I finished in 1:02:something. That's pretty good for 6 miles. A little over 10 minutes per mile. I know in that race I started off fairly slow... and kicked it up for the last two miles. I would say that is my strategy at this point for the Shamrock... pace myself...and have enough energy to "bring it home" the last 3 miles.
I set the treadmill at 5.1 today. Which I maintained until the last 2 miles when I increased my speed. I always think it's better to finish strong than to run out of energy too quickly. The last mile was under 9 minutes! The first time in my life I have run 8 miles and I was able to do the last one at that pace....what an incredible feeling.
Three thoughts I want to throw out there:
1.) Running after work is really difficult for me. I think because my feet hurt from walking around in heels and I just prefer a morning run. When I did 7 miles, I forced myself to do it after work (although you are supposed to do the long runs on the weekend.) Honestly, it kind of sucked. It wasn't hard in terms of endurance but my legs felt like lead for a lot of it and I forced myself to keep going. I just assumed it was because I was running 7 miles.
Today was the exact opposite. I felt great after the first 5 miles and excited to do 3 more. I definitely got a runner's high and felt like I could do more. I am sticking to the Hal Higdon plan because I think its better not to shock my body with a dramatic increase in distance. I like that he calls for consistency in training.
This week I kind of slacked off with the running during the week. I did 3 miles on Monday... took Tuesday and Wednesday off... and then ran 2 on Thursday and 1 on Friday. (At this point that is pathetic. If I was just working out that would be okay (maybe)...but I have to run 13 miles in March. 1 mile is a joke in terms of preparation.)
I have to be at work at 8:30 A.M. My commute takes 45 minutes. Now that the shorter runs have increased to 5 miles... its kind of hard to get that in before work... I've decided to go for punctuality over training... but I will need to figure something out. I definitely prefer morning runs over evening runs (and freeing up the evening).
My favorite feeling of all is waking up and knowing the only thing I HAVE to do is run. (Like today through next Wednesday). So that is why I'm not too concerned about the slack off this week. I know I will get all of those runs in between now and Wednesday. Today was the most important of all!
2) MAKE A LONG RUN PLAYLIST! I did that I think before I started training at all. I have Bon Jovi's Livin' on a Prayer at 3 miles and Rodney Atkins's If You're Going Through Hell around 7 miles. I might want to move Livin' on a Prayer to my new halfway point... but having a long run playlist seems to be the best idea in the world.
I ONLY listen to this playlist if I am doing a long run. If I am going on a shorter run I listen to a different playlist with more random songs. I think it helps to recognize which song is coming next and in my mind know where I am. If I listened to the same playlist everyday I would be so sick of it. But I have the "familiar tunes" for when it counts.
3) This is kind of related to #2... the rules of the Shamrock 1/2 marathon state that headphones, iPods, Mp3 players, etc. are banned. There are bands playing music at some of the mile markers and I figured it would be okay to run sans-iPod.
The other night when I was watching TV instead of listening to my iPod...it seemed to take forever just to get up to a mile. I THINK I was more bored because I was on the treadmill. I used to run outside without an iPod and it was fine because of the change in scenary. I guess I never realized how much of a security blanket it has been for me in terms of the training...
Yesterday I started googling if this rule is actually enforced. I found mixed results. Some said that with thousands of people it is virtually unenforcable. I'm thinking I will sneak it... even if I don't start out using it.. as a just in case?