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Feedback revisited

08/22/2012

That post I wrote a few weeks ago about hating too much feedback? I still stand by those sentiments. But it doesn’t mean I don’t like a little bit of feedback every so often, especially when it’s positive. (You know when the feedback is negative I just want to delete it or stick my fingers in my ears and pretend it doesn’t exist. Yes, we’re still talking about running.)

In any case, the feedback was good today (…and since I’m trying to post more than once a month, I’m going to share).

This afternoon, I wanted to get in one more go-round of my favorite 9-mile loop before moving on to new running turf in a few days, and I wanted it to be at some sort of tempo effort. Since an even-paced tempo sounded too ambitious and I sometimes have to trick myself into speedwork, I alternated between 12 minutes of “press” with 3 minutes “cruise” (not redlining the hard part, but not phoning it in on the easy segment) and repeated this until the loop was finished. What a win; I felt like a puppy tearing through fields of daisies on my way to harass an enormous flock of migratory birds. Pure jubilance. I was just… rolling. Never laboring. I came through the just-under-halfway point in 29:30 and knew that I could close the workout down in under an hour.

Usually, I get a little bit anxious at the end of races or distance-based runs. I’ll disconnect from what I’m doing and get caught up in the finishing time. On top of this, I’ve noticed that I’ll back off the throttle if I’m already confident that I’ve got it in the bag, which is not, I suspect, a toughness-forming habit.

Anyway, today, I just wanted to stay in stride and stay focused. I wanted to avoid spending the last fourth of the run in a state of unease about the time outcome. Sometimes outcome pressure is a helpful thing, but I’m realizing more and more that it often isn’t productive for me because it means I’m overthinking useless crap and not staying fully engaged in what I’m doing that moment. I need to worry about the “after”… after. Not during. (The degree to which this running stuff parallels other areas in life is delightful, really.)

The loop finishes on a formidable ~350 meter hill that always makes me feel like I will perish instantly, even when I’m running at an easy pace. I knew I was going to get my sub-60 minutes, so I had a mild fight with myself over whether to back off going up the hill. The angel on my shoulder won when I remembered that this hill taxes my system even if I’m walking it — it’s always going to hurt, so I might as well keep my effort up and get it over with. Accordingly, I went kind of hard — not breaking any effort records, but hard enough — which is an improvement over my typical quittiness on this segment of the route.

I finished my nine miles in 58:53 for an average of 6:32.5 pace. It makes me get to wondering… if I can do nine at this pace in a tempo workout today, could I do a half-marathon at this pace in a race? And if I could do a half-marathon at this pace in a race, could I be ready in a few months to do a marathon in… well, I don’t want to get ahead of myself.

No workout is a crystal ball, but the confidence boost sure is nice.

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8 Comments leave one →
  1. Ewen permalink
    08/23/2012 01:37

    Great feedback! Nice way to finish your last run on a favourite loop. What’s possible for a half? A 14.5k tempo run at 4:04 k pace. When I could do that (2 decades ago) my halves were usually between 82 & 83 so I’d guess you’d race a half in that. 81:XX on a good day.

    • 08/23/2012 12:52

      Now we’re talking scary. 81 is serious business — that would be one hell of a good day! I’m hesitant to read too much into this workout because I suspect that my best race distance range right now is about 8-15K, so it makes sense that my most promising workouts would come in that range too. I really wonder how much it translates to the long stuff?

      • Ewen permalink
        08/24/2012 21:54

        A nine mile tempo translates very well to a half so no need to feel scared about sub-4 ks — if tapered that will feel easy for at least 12k. A fast half however, doesn’t translate that well to a marathon. Fast marathons are all about glycogen conservation and fat burning, so ‘good’ marathon training is what translates best to a fast marathon.

  2. 08/23/2012 02:58

    I say without a doubt, Yes. If you can do 9 miles at a pace during a training run then with a taper and th excitement and fuel of a half you will be able to run that pace for an entire race.

    • 08/23/2012 12:56

      It is fun to think about and hope for! Then I realize that four miles is basically an extra 50% of what I ran in this workout… brings me back down to earth a little bit. A taper and race day fanfare can really inject a good boost though.

  3. 08/23/2012 09:13

    OK I take back what I said in that last post….we’re not similar runners….I could never do a 9 mile tempo at that pace, especially on a trail! You idiot, go run a 1:25 half marathon NOW

    • 08/23/2012 13:01

      No way, this was on roads! My trail days are few and far between now that I’m back east. Also, as a racer, I’m pretty sure my sweet spot is maybe in that 5-10 mile range, so it makes sense to be able to complete fairly speedy training runs over a similar distance. Half-marathon starts getting out of my comfort zone, so I’m trying not to read too far into this workout. (Your 22-miler at like 7:00 pace, on the other hand? That’s badass marathon stuff.)

  4. 08/27/2012 02:23

    That’s some killer feedback! And in my small world I think a 9 mile tempo is a perfect indicator of 1/2 potential & still a fairly solid indicator for a future marathon. 🙂 Way to go!!

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