Uphill battle indeed! I decided to run the same course today for my 6 mile pace run, but to do it backwards. This meant that I began and ended uphill, where as for my pace run last week I began and ended downhill. And, I ended up with similar results...although quite different experiences!! I finished 44:17 and averaged a 7:23min/mi, and last week finished 44:34. Last week was the hottest day of the year, and today was not nearly as extreme. It was definitely sticky and humid, but bearable....no complaints here!!
My goal going into my workout today was to stay at 26.2 race pace (7:30min/mi), and to finish uphill. I LOVE these pace workouts. They help me to maintain focus, patience, and consistency in my running. To run a smart, fast marathon, you have to run with all three of those qualities. Today, I definitely worked hard to stay focused on my pace. I focused on not putting out too much too soon or on tough parts of the course, but also without easing up too much. I also focused on putting out a bit faster pace on the easier, downhill parts of the course...without putting out too much! Ahhhh confusing a bit, ehhh??
I started out with a .5 mile walk to warm up my muscles a tad prior to starting the 6 miles. Then, off I went! The first mile was uphill, and I was a bit stiff and a little scattered in my pace trying to hang on to 7:30min/mi. It was hard...and I was kind of all over the place (7:20-7:47ish). Once the road even out around 1.5, I picked up to a consistent pace a little under 7:30min/mi. Once I got to Coventry, which is initially a moderate decline in elevation and then picks up to a big downhill, I dropped down to around 6:50-7:00. I held this pace for most of the middle miles all the way through Little Italy. Once the elevation increased, I slightly picked up to 7:30 and maintained that as I circled around Case back to Cedar. The last .5 miles was up Cedar Hill and was, as it always promises, VERY challenging. I started out pretty slow around 9:00, and dug deep down to PUSH and floated around 7:30-8:00 pace until I got to the top and was FINISHED! Love the feeling of being done after a great workout!!
I reached my goal for my workout today, and won this uphill battle!! I was much more relaxed throughout the workout today then I was last week (I think the heat played a large role in this). These pace workouts are a pivotal component to marathon training...if you don't do them, you should!!
Looking forward to my rest day tomorrow, the Wigs For Kids 5K at the Zoo Saturday (hoping for sub 20:00), and my 13 mile long run on the Tow Path Sunday!! :-)