For every half marathon and marathon that I have trained for, long runs meant one thing: go out and run long. Don’t worry about the pace.
Turns out, when you start chasing a sub 4 hour marathon (and eventually sub 3:35), the runs start to change.
Today’s long run was the first that I approached with a specific pace in mind. The plan called for 15 miles with 12 at race pace. For me that meant 9 minute miles. (Hopefully that will bring me across the finish line in San Francisco a minute or two under four hours.)
I was nervous about the run. I’ve never put that kind of “pressure” on myself on any long run that wasn’t also a race. Then yesterday, while describing the run to my mom, i realized that I’ve run two half marathons with a 7:58 pace. WHy on earth was I scared of a measly 12 at a 9:00 pace?
So today I started with an easy two miles before starting the marathon specific miles. Perhaps I should approach every run with the mindset that the first mile is warm up. I realized then that there’s probably a reason that my first mile is usually the slowest. If I tell myself that it’s a warm up, maybe I won’t obsess about it as much.
Then came the marathon specific miles. The part that concerned me most was finding the pace. My internal Garmin has never been developed and I haven’t yet set the real thing to display the average pace.
I kept glancing at the Garmin through the first of the marathon specific miles, frustrating myself more than necessary. Finally, I just decided that I liked the pace that I had and even though my Garmin told me it was anywhere between 8:30 and 8:50, I was not about to fight it.
Turns out, my pace was closer to my goal than I thought. All except two of the miles clocked in between 8:48 and 8:52, only about 10 seconds off. The other two miles clocked in at 8:35 and 8:38, just a bit too eager to be done.
Even though I had a hard time slowing that last mile down, I really enjoyed this run.
I’m not sure how many times I have to stop selling myself short. I realized today that it’s a lot easier to set my expectations low and be mildly frustrated at my “slow” pace.
If I really want to meet my goals I have to get out there and train hard. I will not use my typical summer excuse of the humidity to explain my dropping paces because, Lord willing, they will not drop.
Sub 4 hour marathon, here I come!