Perhaps not surprisingly, less than a week after complaining about lost Mojo, I’m back to talk about triumph. Or at least improvement. While Monday’s and Wednesday’s runs we’re blah at best, Friday morning’s was better. I got up around 6am to a comfortable temperature and set off on a “junk run.” Not looking to do hill repeats or speed repeats. Just a nice run. Imagine my surprise when my “junk run” ended up at 11:04 pace. A fast tempo run? And, happily, no ankle pain.
This weekend I was schedule for a 3 mile run with a Magic Mile (MM). I wasn’t sure, at least earlier in the week, if I should take it easy or try a MM. After Friday’s stellar run I figured I should give it a go. It’s been a few weeks since my last MM and I was curious – and a bit anxious – to try again. My last one started too fast and I was toast by the end. Jeff Galloway suggested aiming for a 1:10 eighth mile to keep my speed in check.
I figured I’d use that 1:10 number for my run/walk interval. Run 1 min/walk 10 sec. My goal was to hit the 1/8 around 1 min and then walk. My first 1/8 was a little fast so I tried to slow up. I knew I was ahead of pace but felt good. I didn’t keep good splits this time. I was too focused on just going (note to self: need better splits next time). I did increase my walking time to about 15 sec as the laps went on. Mostly to catch my breath and prevent cramping. I was hoping to match the 9:22 and maybe improve a little. I was shocked when I finished at 8:52! A sub-9 minute mile!
What does this all mean? I’m explained before that Galloway uses the MM to predict race pace (with disclaimers: if race day conditions are ideal AND you’ve done all or most of your training). Half marathon pace is MM x 1.2 and marathon pace is MM x 1.3. Using his handy-dandy calculator that means…wait for it….a 2:19:23 half marathon and a 5:01:60 full marathon. And that’s assuming no improvement in the next 18 weeks until the marathon. (He takes your 4 most recent MMs leading up to the race and discards the slowest and averages the remaining 3. So using only my best MM isn’t, strictly speaking, accurate.)
So wait a second, I should be capable of my 2:30 half? And definitely capable of my 5:30 full? Um, wow!
A few caveats. 1st, I ran today’s MM in 63F with low humidity. The track was still damp from yesterday’s storms but otherwise this was beautiful running conditions. Disney may be 80F or 30F and sleeting. Both have occurred during prior Marathon Weekends. 2nd, and maybe more importantly, I’ve been great about training. But my longest run has been 3 hours not 7 hours. School and related activities are just beginning. The time constraints of fall have impacted my training…yet. And while I’m certainly dedicated to my training, I have also been fortunate. I hope my ability to complete ALL of my runs remains as good as its been. But life has a way of happening that isn’t always within our control. As I look ahead to mid-October I will likely be in New Orleans for a medical conference on a weekend where I’m schedule for a 7 mile walk on Saturday and an 18 mile run on Sunday. That will be tricky at best. I can only try.
Are there lessons from today’s run? For me the lesson is BELIEVE in the system. Many of the other runners who are training for the Marathon are doing much higher mileage than I am. It’s hard to not get intimated and have doubts. Not that I think I have time for many more miles nor am I competed against these nebulous “other” runners. But it makes me doubt. Seeing such improvement helps to ease the worry and the questions. Not eliminate the doubts but quiet them. I will continue to have faith in the training plan and hope to see the fruits of my labor come to harvest.

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