So I continue executing the Half-Marathon plan and I'm currently on week 4. No major issues yet. On Sunday I did a 7 mile long run, which the furthest I have run thus far. I was a little sore the next day and my back was acting up a bit but I think it was more because of sleeping in an awkward position that night rather than the run itself. I have a 2 mile run today and I'm ready to go so again, no major issue.
The interesting run I mention in the title happened last Thursday. As per the instructions, I was supposed to run 5 miles in which I would start slow for one mile, then run three miles at the pace I want to run the actual Half, then run the fifth mile slow. I believe this is called a tempo run though I'm not sure. It sure sounds better than what I was calling it: The "shifting gears" run.
It was not a bad run by any means. I felt great during the whole thing but it was weird for some reason. Since I'm so slow I usually don't worry about keeping a certain pace so I go by feel. My plan was simple enough: Aim to finish the first mile below 15:30 then try to stay above that number for the next three which is my goal for the Half. Then slow down to below 15:30 the last mile which should not be too hard as I was supposed to be tired. Simple right?
It's at times like these when you realize just how set in your ways you really are. The first mile, was a struggle to slow down enough if you can believe that. It sure put the whole "starting fast" issue into perspective. It's amazing how much stored energy you have at the start of a run and how eager your body is to just go spend it. I don't know, maybe it's just my body going: "OK you want to go run? Then hurry up and get this over with so we can go play Assassin's Creed III". Whether it's me or it's a common thing for runners, I could not manage to go below 15:30. In fact I ran it in 15:06 so I was a bit worried I was gonna get tired fast trying to keep the HM pace but...
Never happened. I picked up the pace and after a while I noticed I was actually pacing in the 14's. I again tried to slow down a bit but I was actually feeling pretty good. The HM pace miles didn't feel like I was running significantly harder so those three miles ended up being faster than scheduled: 14:44, 15:15 (big hill here which naturally slows me down) and 14:47.
The final mile was a struggle of another kind. I had no trouble slowing down but then came the hurry-up-you-are-almost-done feeling one gets when close to finishing and caught myself speeding up a bit so I would slow down. But my mind would wonder a bit and I would speed up again. It was actually kind of funny (and a bit weird) to keep telling myself to slow down after a year of complaining I'm too slow. Go figure.
So the numbers were not perfect but it was a good run nonetheless. I felt really good the whole way and keeping the HM pace did not tire me out as much as I thought it would which is a good sign. Also, on the following Long Run I worked on keeping and maintaining a slower pace and I seem to be getting better at that so it's full sail and on course for me!