13 chilly miles back on the Swamp Rabbit Trail

I’ve run a lot of miles this year. In fact, today’s run took me over and beyond my original reach goal for yearly mileage. (more on that coming in my goals post on Tuesday)

I would not have imagined at the beginning of this year that I would be able to routinely run 13 miles almost as if it were nothing.

This year has also shown me just how much I love running in cold weather. For my last long run of 2012 I was thrilled to check the weather and find the temperatures at 28 degrees. (Yes, I know that I’m a bit odd, especially having lived my entire life in the south.)

When I started the run I wanted to make sure that I ran around a 9:50 pace, much slower than I have been throughout the past week. (That’s the pace dictated by my smartcoach plan.) I kept checking my Garmin so once I hit that pace I could settle into it and try to maintain it.

The problem with that? When you run with trees on either side, Garmin’s satellite reception is finicky, at least when it comes to calculating average pace. Without altering my actual pace very much, Garmin said my pace varied as much as 10:20 one second to 9:07 three seconds later.

For approximately the first mile I kept trying to get a lock on what my pace actually was, unsuccessfully. Finally I decided to forget about it and just run. I knew my pace would end up being faster than proscribed but it wasn’t worth the hassle to try to hit 9:50.

My mile splits illustrate this pretty clearly.
Screen Shot 2012-12-30 at 12.08.10 PM

I’m still amazed that with very little effort my easy pace has gone from 10+ to approximately 9:20. I really need to figure out how that happened so I can hold onto it throughout the summer.

As has become my new habit, I picked up the pace on the final mile before breaking into my final (usual) sprint at the end. These faster miles are such confidence boosters. Although, when I think about the fact that in order to snag that sub 23:xx 5k in a few weeks I’ll have to run that fast (or faster) I wonder why I made that one of my goals. Even as I think that though, I know it’s what I want. Thankfully, 5ks are over quickly.

I finished this long run feeling a bit chilly, happy and just a little fatigued, exactly what I wanted. One more run and then I’ll start adding up the mileage for 2013.

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4 Comments

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4 responses to “13 chilly miles back on the Swamp Rabbit Trail

  1. Jeni – do you have your watch set to watch your ‘pace’ (meaning the speed you are moving at any one instant) or your ‘average pace’? With your body moving forward and your wrist swinging both forward and backward, your pace CAN actually change instantaneously to the Garmin. I tell my friends never to use that setting. I don’t train by pace much but when I do, I display the ‘lap pace’ (and my laps are set at the mile marks like yours). Once you are about 15 or 20 seconds into each mile, the Garmin will have settled on an average pace that you have been running that particular mile. This way, it doesn’t jump around and you can make minor effort changes and watch the average move slowly. Using this technique, you can hit the EXACT pace you are looking to do almost every mile since the average pace changes are very subtle and controllable. If you get the average mile pace to read 9:50 and hold it there, then when you hit the end of that mile, the Garmin will beep “9:50”. Happy running!

    • Thanks! I’ve had this watch for two years now (I think) and have never messed with the settings. Shame on me. 🙂 I’ll definitely do some fiddling soon!

      Sent from my iPad

  2. Pingback: Hilton Head Island Half Marathon Training Week 5 Recap | Stepping Out

  3. Pingback: Hilton head Island Half Marathon Training | Stepping Out

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