I’ve been dragging a bit in my runs lately. It’s very hot in St. Louis so my last two runs have been in the gym on the treadmill. Even indoors it feels hot and humid to me and I keep glancing at the time to calculate how much more I have to do. It’s easier to avoid this when running outside because there’s so much more stuff to look at.
After my Tuesday run I was a bit bummed out that my pace was over 9:15 per mile. I’ve come to expect just under 9 minute miles for any run up to six miles. Then last night I struggled to run for twenty minutes. Granted, I was doing an interval workout where the treadmill changed to an incline at various points and I never do workouts like that, but still, I was disappointed that only twenty minutes felt hard.
Rational Nora knows being disappointed in these things is completely ridiculous, but sometimes I need a more concrete reminder, so I decided to look at my Nike+ app at this time the past two years to see how far I’ve come.
This time in 2011:
I was running more than I am running now but I must have been mixing walking in with my running to average only a 12:34 per mile pace for the month.
This time in 2012:
That’s about the same amount of running I’m doing now. My pace is over 10 minutes per mile and yet I’ve indicated I’m happy on these runs, and thrilled with a 2.13 mile run at 10:20 per mile. !?!?
And this year:
My slowest run of this month is a 9:22 pace but I’m still averaging a 8:54 pace for the month, which is what I have been doing for the past few months. This is a great reminder that while my body may feel a bit drained it is probably just part of the adjustment process to being in St. Louis in the summer, even if I am indoors. I’m still getting good results and my body is likely to feel better in the future as I increase the miles. I start my next round of half marathon training in August so I’ll be able to put this theory to the test shortly.
I’m still trying to figure out how I transitioned from being at 10 minute mile runner to a 9 minute mile (or better) runner. I think training for the Rock ‘n Roll half marathon last October and the Go! St. Louis half marathon this April without giving running up completely in between played a big part in it. I know going to the group runs on Monday nights at Big River Running Company played a big part in it because there are some very fast people there and I find myself trying to keep up with them, even if it’s only to keep them in my field of vision. But I think the biggest reason for my improvement is simply believing that running faster is possible, and that I don’t have to be a 10 minute mile runner just because that’s what I’ve been in the past. I’ve really tried to be mindful of how my body is feeling and let that dictate my pace rather than the time I see on my phone when I start running. So far, so good.