Pacing to BQ

So the days of Spring are long gone, and so are the days of being lazy, cooped up and on the couch by 7:30pm.  Summer is here, and a new strategy for fitness and speed has hatched.

Summer is always an interesting season for me running wise.  It’s usually too hot for distance training, but the abundant daylight offers so many more chances for the runs I like to do.  Runs during the evening!  Typically I hate running in the dark, as it is very unmotivating to me.  This time of year I can afford to come home from work, relax for a few hours, and then head out for a run.  It makes me happy to be able to do that.  I hate feeling rushed, and feeling like I need to get in my runs when I am not mentally or physically prepared for them.

Almost four weeks have passed since my last marathon, and I have been busy preparing for what’s next.  I took a week off first of all, and really let my muscles recharge.  I intentionally signed up for a local 10k in the beginning of June so that I would have to start doing some shorter, faster runs to prepare for it.  If you’re anything like me, distance training can become monotonous.  I get into ruts, and feel like I can’t improve my speed. It’s always a given that I race faster than I train, but this idea I had is twofold, and hatched almost three weeks ago.

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I was going to train for speed.  Focus on pace, and improving my focus.  My eighth run is today, and the seven runs at the beginning of this plan are leading me in the right direction.  I am trying to mix speed work, with endurance to try to achieve a BQ.  I have been shooting for 8 minute miles, and for me, it has been fun, but not easy.  You see, my normal training runs are on some hills, and I usually end up with an overall pace of somewhere in the 8:40 range.  For this plan I tried to choose the flattest route (it’s not flat) that I could to work on speed.  The first mile is always my slowest, no matter how hard I try.  But my results are becoming more what I need to see to possibly make my dream of a BQ come to fruition.

On 5/13 I paced 7:59 for a 5k.  On 5/15 I paced 7:59 at 3.25 miles.  I slipped a bit on 5/17 with am 8:12 for 3.25 miles, but I had worked all day on my feet and was tired.  On 5/18 I yearned for hills, so mixed those in and ended up at an 8:43 pace for 3.5 miles.  Then, super speedy day on 5/20 with 3.5 miles at 7:51 pace.  Two more runs of 4 and 3.5 miles right near 8:00, and I am pleased with how I am doing.  I will push myself hard on 6/6 during the 10k.  I want to see what’s possible, but with like 20+ turns on a challenging course, we’ll just have to wait and see what happens.

Until then, I will keep pushing the pace envelope.  After the race, my focus will be pushing the pace during training runs down to 7:45. I need a pace of 7:49 over the full course of a marathon to BQ, so training for it will be crucial .  The best I’ve done in a marathon thus far is 8:06 pace.  I’ve got work to do!

I will have six weeks after the 10k to be ready for my marathon.  Like I said, I have my work cut out for me, but without a challenge I become complacent, and I do not want that!  I’ve got to see what I am capable of.  Wish me luck!

What are your favorite training go-to’s for increasing speed?  Pleas share!  Happy training yawl!

By the Numbers

I haven’t been able to say this much (at all) in 2015, but it was a really good running week!   Can barely believe it myself, but I managed four workouts.  Yep, that hasn’t happened not one time this year.  Why does life get in the way of my running sometimes?  Maybe I’ve just let too much get in the way to far this year, and haven’t pushed hard enough.  Whatever the case, I didn’t let the weather, a cold, my work hours, or family life get in the way this week.  I didn’t come up with any excuses not to run.  This bodes well for a busy month.

So, let’s focus on the runs.  Monday, Wednesday, Friday and Sunday.

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Count them!

All fairly routine runs, involving hills and flats.  I focused on negative splits this week as I ran some very challenging hills to start each run.  The good news is that even though my runs have been very erratic so far this year, this past week was a huge improvement.

The month of March will be busy for me.  I started well!  This coming weekend I have a Half Marathon on Sunday.  My first Half of the year, and first Half since early November.  I’m looking forward to it.  This is the event that I am pacing at, so this weeks workouts will be short runs and paced evenly throughout.  I will be prepared to hit the 8:00 minute miles in Asheville this weekend.  A destination race for me, I will be packing up and driving to Asheville (about a four hour drive) on Saturday morning.  I will be volunteering at the Expo from 1-5pm.  I ran the inaugural marathon at this race two years ago, and can’t wait to return this time for the Half.  Biltmore, here I come!

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I have been focusing on hill work because the course this weekend incorporates many.  The second race I will be running this month is exactly a week later.  March 22nd is the All American Marathon about an hour from home.  This will be my second Full of the year, and this race course has some inclines, as well.  Both of my sons are running this race, the Half, so it will be a load of good times.

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This past week involved some planning, as well.  Lots of news to share, some that I have eluded to already, but when you race destinations, there is a lot involved.  I did manage to get a hotel reserved for a race I have in the mountains at the beginning of May.  My plan for the a Summer is to run the Revel Rockies event outside of Colorado.  This is going to be my “A” race at the marathon distance, and my BQ attempt this year.  I haven’t nailed down any travel plans yet, but I have to keep checking for airline rates.  I found an amazing deal for last year when I flew to Utah, so I just have to hope for an equally enticing deal that I can’t pass up on.  Will continue to keep my eyes peeled.

As I wait to get some finalization on some great news today, I will leave you with another tidbit.  Hey, that reminds me, did any of you make it into the TCS New York City Marathon?  The lottery drawing was this past week.  My brother made it in!

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