Man, that was tough. Guess it's just been a while since I've done a pace run! My goal for this workout was to run 5 miles at my intended marathon pace, 7:30min/mi. The challenging part about maintaining this pace was that I could NOT for the life of me hit it. I kept putting out too much, and then when I'd ease up I'd be going too slow! I ran 5 miles in 35:49 at an average 7:10min/mi pace. That's TOO fast! Beh.
I chose a challenging course with a mix of uphill and downhills to practice maintaining my pace on both. Both pose opposite challenges: uphill- keeping up the pace but not putting it all out (you shouldn't put a 100% effort on the uphill in a race...you'll burn yourself out), and downhill- staying on pace without flying with the momentum and burning up my legs without even realizing it. I was definitely speedy on the dramatic downhills (~6:40min/mi) and booked it up the Cedar Hill uphill climb (~7:00min/mi for most and then slowed it down as my legs were burning as I got to the top to ~7:50min/mi). After this big uphill (around mile 1.5), I was nervous I'd lose my pace and I was simply just going too fast...and I knew it! (~6:50min/mi). So I tried to slow down, and my Garmin showed 8:00min/mi...so I picked it back up and was back near 7:00min/mi...and then tried to slow down and was at about a 7:50min/mi! AHHH! Once mile 3 came around and I knew I was going too fast, I gave up on getting to the perfect pace and decided to stick around 7:00min/mi. I always like finishing the end part of my run faster than the beginning (with the exception of tempos), so I didn't want to slow down at that point.
When I finished, I couldn't believe how hard it was for me to maintain the right pace! I think a large part of this comes from my racing streak over the past few weeks. I'm grateful for the speedy legs, but I'm not yet at the point in my running career to run a super fast marathon. Especially not on a hilly marathon course like NYC. Although my running "instinct" is telling me to put it out there, I'll save it for when I feel ready for it!!! Someday...sooner than later :-D For now, once I figure out how to get back to a 7:30min/mi, I will be GOLDEN. I'm bound to get under 3:20 this fall!
And, again, that's why pace workouts are SO important! You need to get not just your body in shape for the marathon, but also your mind! Today was more of a mental workout than a physical workout.
Looking forward to resting my legs tomorrow! Saturday I'll be heading out to the Tow Path to get a good 10 miles with my friend Jen! My planned pace is around an 8:00min/mi. The Tow Path is a flat, soft trail so it'll likely be a little bit faster...but I'll try to stay under 7:50min/mi.