This morning’s run begins rather dubiously but ends just as triumphantly. I wake up still groggy after being very tired yesterday, which I attribute to the lingering effects of my fifteen-miler last weekend (the hot Sacramento summer also played a part). Over the past few days I noticed a significant drop in my energy by late afternoon. This mid-week fatigue is something I also experienced last year during marathon training. It reminds me that I need to be very intentional about keeping myself well-hydrated and fueled throughout the day, and as well-rested as possible.
Back to this morning. I am in a groggy state. Not surprisingly, I am slow getting up and out. I don’t actually start my run until about 7:40am (when 6am is more common for me, especially in the summer). All in all, you could say I begin the run with low expectations.
The plan is to warm up for one mile while I jog to McKinley Park then run three miles at a faster-than-normal-training “marathon pace,” with three minute breaks in between each mile. I’m not sure the exact pace I will aim for at the California International Marathon on December 4th, but it will probably be somewhere between 8:30 and 9:00 min/mile. So this is generally what I’m targeting today. Although I want to run faster, I don’t want to overdo it, since I am doing mile repeats in two days (those are fast).
Today I am using a 4:1 run/walk ratio, that is, four minutes of running followed by one minute of walking. This has become normal for me over the past few months. However, I have generally run much slower than I want to go today, which is easy to do when you are walking one out of every five minutes.
Let’s see how this goes.
Happily, I soon find my stride. Since it is about 8am, the sun is already out, shining through the trees and over the tops of house. I’m glad I wear my sunglasses. McKinley Park happens to be about exactly one mile away from where we live, which is perfect to let me warm up before I get there. There are definitely more cars out at this time of morning. One of the advantages of running at McKinley–in addition to it being picturesque and having a positive community vibe– is that it is basically a one mile loop. And you don’t deal with traffic. This makes it a popular place for runners, including myself.
Once I get to McKinley, I begin my first “marathon pace” mile. I am not trying to run as fast as possible, though I am conscious to keep up the pace. I practice some “accelerators,” where I increase the cadence of my feet in short bursts. I glance down out the running app on my phone to make sure I am on track. For the first mile, it turns out I only have one walk break, which helps me accomplish a quick 8:26 time. After this, I slow down for three minutes as planned, and take a walk break. I start up the second mile. Though I have two walking breaks during this mile, I still complete it with an 8:39 pace. Not bad! For the third mile I continue on a roll, finishing with 8:31 pace.
I am happily surprised at how well these miles go. It pleases me to be able to accomplish a fast pace while taking the longer walk breaks. I still haven’t settled on what ratio of walking to running I will use in December. For the American Parkway Half back in April, I walked 35 seconds every five minutes. This worked really well, yet today’s victorious run signals that a slightly longer walk break could also work.
On my run back, I am light-footed and relaxed. As I stand at our front porch after the run, a feeling of happiness comes over me. “That was awesome!” I exclaim to myself.
I love feeling good after a run!