Every now and then during training, I tend to make a crazy leap in improvement. It’s never a steady growth; and it always takes me by surprise.
Saturday was a taper day. When increasing distance, a good program will schedule in “rest” days on a regular run day, often called a “taper”. That doesn’t mean lounge around the house in jammies, eating ice cream. Instead, it refers to a shorter distance run. So we went from 8 miles two weeks ago to 5 miles last Saturday, and we are running 9 miles next weekend.
Leaving the house in the chilly pre-dawn hours and driving downtown in the rain before breakfast or caffiene is hard when you are going to a nice, warm job. When it means you get to jump out of the car and spend the next hour in the cold and wet, you start to question your sanity. Why did I think this was a good idea?
It wouldn’t be so bad if we could get out the car and start running, but we have to stand around waiting for folks to sign in before we even get to warm up. Those of you who run know that in order to have a comfortable run, you dress like it’s 20 degrees warmer than the ambient temperature. That means most of us were shivering in 46 degree temps in capris and short sleeved shirts. Brrrrr!
Maybe that’s what caused the anomally. My partner and I generally run about a 12:45 pace. The whole run, I felt like I was barely beating my walking pace. People kept passing us, and my tiny turnover seemed sluggish and weak in comparison to the svelte gazelles that kept flying by in an endless stream of youth and vigor that I can’t tap any longer. Can’t even fake it.
When I complained about how slow and dreary this run felt, my run partner just about fell on the ground laughing. “Shall I read out the splits”, she giggled? Then tapping her Garmin she repeated the numbers: 11:20, 11:31, 11:29:, 11:38, and 11:36. Um yeah. That’s more than a minute faster than my usual tempo run. Wow.
Suddenly faster. Wonder how that will hold up over 9 miles? I might need to reevaluate my estimated finish time. If that’s for real I deserve a reward. I’m seriously thinking about these: