I want to thank each of you that sent me an email regarding the passing of my aunt. While I haven’t responded to each one yet I most certainly will. We all go through ups and downs in life and being able to share and comfort one another is so important. My Auntie Dee was a RIOT. While there will no doubt be tears at the upcoming service there will be a LOT of laughter too. She wouldn’t want it any other way.
For the first time since Chicago I ran 50 miles last week. I managed one solid tempo, several easy runs (lets talk about easy runs in a minute) and 2 long runs. I ended the week with Chacha and Pam at the SD Half Marathon.
Pam ran a smart, strong and fast race. It was so much fun to cheer her on and watch her finish. She is going to do so well in Boston! I wish I could share with you all of the funny stuff that happened that morning. For some reason when I type out the stories they just don’t bring the comedy. I will tell you this: there is a cop in town that must think Chacha and I are the two biggest idiots on the planet. I blame it on the time change. Or the fact that we are hilarious. Probably a little of both.
Back to running.
This week is a back down week since I am running a half marathon on Sunday. So far I have managed two easy 4 milers and a 6 mile tempo. I will likely run one more 4-5 miler at an easy pace and that will be it.
I mentioned above that my 50 mile week included a lot of easy runs. Fact is most of my weeks include easy runs. Several of them. Slowing down has made training for races much more enjoyable (running is fun!) and way more effective.
Getting ready for 13.1 or 26.2 means preparing my mind and body to do work for a few hours. If I ran every single run at race pace (or faster) I wouldn’t be doing myself any good. Not only would I likely be injured, I’d be burned the heck out. Some people call easy runs junk miles. I call them practice.
Once I learned to slow down on my easy days and go hard on fast days it all started coming together. I saw my race times improve a LOT. A good friend of mine told me that once I figured it out I would have a race breakthrough. And I did.
So how do you know if you are running too fast too often? How can you be certain you need to slow down your long run? Easy.
If your training pace is faster than your race pace it’s time to slow down.
Hit the breaks! Long runs are meant to build endurance. It’s all about time on your tootsies. Your long run pace should be easy enough that your form doesn’t fail and you enjoy it. You should be able to hold a conversation without sounding like your gasping for air. I know you know what I’m talking bout (Hi-breath-I-breath-am-breath-running-breath-too-breath-fast….)
Slowing down your long run doesn’t mean it’s going to be a cake walk. The miles aren’t changing, just the pace.
So how is it done?
1. Make a conscious effort. It may take some getting used to but you can do it. If you find yourself going too fast stop, take a second, and start again. Remind your self that it’s a training run, not a race.
2. Follow a training plan. Yes, a real one. Pencil in your easy runs and stick to them. When you write it down you are more likely to do it.
3. Find a friend or group to run with. Not only is it fun, having someone to hold you accountable helps tremendously.
If for some reason your inner racer is still bursting at the seems throw in a few strides. That should help get your ya-yas out.
Remember, you have plenty of opportunities to run fast during the week that will have you ready to race. Give yourself the chance to recover by slowing down your long run. Your body and your mind will thank you.
Anyone else participating in a St. Patrick’s Day race?
~~ Good luck to all of my friends running the LA Marathon on Sunday!!