I ran this morning with the Big River Running Training Team. I’d heard about it a couple years ago but have always been reluctant to participate because the long runs begin at 7am on Sundays. Despite the fact that most races I participate in are that early, I wasn’t sure about willingly beginning running at that time. But seeing this is my fourth half marathon training I thought running with a group would help me avoid burnout.
I was surprised at how many people showed up at Big River Running at 7am!
Not everyone ran together. This was very organized and they called out pace groups starting with people running 8 minute miles or faster all the way to people wanting to run/walk. I decided to go with the 9:30-10 minute mile pace group, thinking it would be better to pick a conservative pace. Plus, Jen who I met at The Macklind Mile was in that group. This pace group was a popular one; there were probably twenty of us. The pacer was Hannah who said she intended to run 10.3 miles but would call out mileage so people who wanted to run less would know when to turn back. Since my plan doesn’t start until tomorrow I was thinking 6-8 miles depending on how I felt.
We started north on Macklind and took Fyler to Kingshighway until we reached Tower Grove Park. When we reached Arsenal and Grand she said people who wanted to run six should turn back. Some people did turn back but I was feeling great so I stuck with the group. I was actually feeling so great I wondered if I could do the full ten miles. I had the “I could run at this pace all day” feeling that I’ve read about but I’m not sure I’ve ever experienced. It was so empowering to run in a group. I’m not a talker when running–I prefer to save all my breath for the run and listen to my music–but I love the energy of running in a pack. It’s so cool know everyone has the same goal. And the pace group aspect of this was great for me as it ensured I didn’t start out too fast and waste all my energy upfront.
We ran back through Tower Grove Park to Kingshighway. I caught up with a couple girls who I’d heard say wanted to run 7-8 miles and branched off with them, heading south on Kingshighway. This isn’t the prettiest part of the route so having people around really helped.
There were probably four other people running behind us as well; the rest stayed in the park to go the full distance with Hannah. We retraced our route and ended up going faster without the pacer–our last mile was around 8:45. I love finishing strong so I was thrilled I still had that in me at mile 7.
Next week’s training team run starts from the Forest Park visitor’s center. I’m only scheduled to go 4 miles but I’ll probably do something similar to what I did today. I figure if I can add miles to my plan on days I feel good, that will help with my speed, especially for shorter races. My next race is The Kimmswick 5k in a couple weeks.