By Mike Tarrolly for the Crushing Iron Podcast
In all seriousness, training for Ironman 70.3 Chattanooga hasn’t been going all that well. My participation might be considered “dabbling” or holding on for dear life in hopes that magical inspiration kicks in . . . which it always does.
That said, I had a decent string of trainer rides this week and have been reading some great inspiration in the Crushing Iron closed Facebook Group this week. In conjunction, both sort of motivated me to take a crack at a “long run” this morning.
The goal was a 9-easy-miles with the idea of our “Running Slow To Get Fast” podcast (see below) in mind. And after I began, I quickly calibrated a second goal of negative splitting the second half.
Coach Robbie likes to prescribe time runs versus mileage and I totally agree with that theory, but today I was planning to reverse squeeze the distance into a 1:30 run with a disciplined pace. I wasn’t a rockstar, but the run was very patient, and in large part a test of my status.
It’s a straight shot out my driveway, into the Greenway, then down to the Nature Center and back. This run is mostly flat, with the exception of the last half mile back home.
Most of us start our runs too hot and I’m no different, but today I made a strong effort to keep my breathing in check and take what it gave me. Mile 1 was at a 9:15 pace, which was a little quicker than I’d have liked, but it felt pretty good, so I focused on holding that exact pace to the halfway point. I did remarkably well and clocked the first 4.5 miles at a 9:11 pace.
After filling my water, I turned around with the goal to be lighter on my feet and maintain solid form. I also wanted to lower the average pace as little as possible. Don’t go fast, just focus on fluidity and great balance. I tried not to look at my watch unless I felt I was going too fast.
Since I was trying to go just a little faster, and knew my recent running history may not have me ready for this distance, I did my best to pick my feet off the concrete as quickly as possible so my ankles and feet wouldn’t take a beating. This is also something I keep in mind to build strength in my hip flexors. It was all about relaxing with good run form and keeping my breath smooth.
I was pleasantly surprised.
With about a mile left my average pace for the entire run was at 9:09/mile. I knew I had a hill looming, so I picked up the pace for a 1/4 mile to build a little cushion and drove the average down to 9:08. By the top of the hill it flipped to 9:10 and I just settled back into the rhythm to bring it home.
4.5 miles out at 9:11 pace. 4.5 mile back at around 9:09. Pretty amazing what a solid run can do for your attitude.
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