Easing up on the Brakes, the Journey Continues

I may or may not have broken the rules on my Thursday run this week.  Allow me to clarify.

Last Sunday our class leaders stressed that our Tuesday and Thursday runs were times when we could run at the pace and split of our choosing, rather than sticking to our training pace and split.  However, newbies are strongly encouraged not to do any sort of speed work (with the apparent exception of some hills), and to keep things slow and safe.  Normally I do that. I don’t have any interest in hurting myself due to overdoing something.  I want to make it all the way to the marathon in July, after all.

But on Thursday, I just couldn’t hold back.  I had plotted a course around my end of campus that would allow me to run up the little hill three times in three miles.  As I walked out the door of my building, I couldn’t deny the urge to allow myself to run/walk at a much faster pace than my training pace.

I walked the first quarter mile (.3, actually) and I did force myself to keep it slow and easy (though still not anywhere near as slow as training pace, I think) on the rest of that first lap around my plotted circle.  After that first lap, though, I took the brakes off and let myself go.  I am quite certain I was going a lot faster than normal and darn it, it felt really good.  I needed that.  Of course, I also put the brakes on for about the last half mile to warm down a little bit, and I walked it in for just under a quarter mile at the end.

Based on my first Magic Mile time of 10:03, I’m in the 15 minute full marathon training group, and we use a 30 second run/45 second walk split.  When I run on my own I use 30/30 and I don’t pay much attention to my pace other than usually trying to keep it slow and easy. Thursday’s run, from door to door was 3 miles in 32 minutes, including the walking part. So even though I don’t know what my exact pace was at any point, I think the math shows that I was going quite a bit faster than my 15 minute training pace. But again, my body really felt like I needed it and I have no extra soreness or discomfort.  I suppose that I should also add that I didn’t have much in the way of soreness or discomfort after our ten mile run on Sunday.  This Galloway run/walk thing is the best!

Thursday evening after work, my good friends who are largely (okay, almost entirely) responsible for me embarking on this journey in the first place, gave me a really amazing gift.  I am now the proud and excited owner of a GPS running watch.  I’m just flummoxed by such a generous gift, but I am also incredibly excited by all the nifty information I’ll be able to get from it once I figure out how to operate it.  I haven’t quite worked out how to review a saved run yet, so it’s back to the manual for me.  Or perhaps I haven’t worked out how to save a run yet, though I would think the save button would be the obvious option there.

Tomorrow our class is running our second Magic Mile and my goal is to come in at under 10 minutes.  That’s all.  I just want to go 4 seconds faster than my previous Magic Mile.  I am pretty sure I can do that.

With the very obvious exception of deciding to run a Marathon, I generally keep my goals simple and small, so that they are achievable and encouraging rather than out of reach and sad making.  Mentally, it just works out so much better for me, that way.

I’ve also been reading bits of my Galloway Training Program book and I’m finding the section on what to do after the big race to be fairly interesting.  He encourages us to form our post-race plan well before the big day.  After his recommended post-race recovery time, I’m not sure yet what I’m going to do. I’ve thought about running the shorter races in the area and that sort of thing.  So far, it seems likely that my body will want to keep run/walking, and perhaps by then I’ll have some idea of what my favorite distances are and I can come up with a plan to stay in shape and be ready for a time-goal run in the 2013 Missoula Marathon.

With 119 days left to go, I still feel like this is one of the best decisions I’ve ever landed on.  I’ll keep letting my body lead the way as much as I can, tempering it enough to keep it safe, and see where we go.  In some ways July seems just around the corner, and in other ways it seems impossibly far off.  Either way, I’m really excited to get there.

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