My training schedule for today called for a tempo or pace run. What to do, what to do?
I decided to do, as an alternative, a progression run, beginning at a slow pace and gradually increasing up to a fast pace. My plan was to increase the pace of each mile by 15 to 30 seconds until I either finished my distance (probably eight miles) or just couldn't go any faster.
I thought I would start at a 10:30 pace, which is obviously slow and easy, but also allows a lot of room for acceleration over the miles!
So how did it go? Quite well. Quite well, indeed.
Mile 1 - I had a little trouble setting the pace here. Running comfortably at a 10:30 pace right out of the house is not hard, believe me. But maintaining that pace is something else. I found myself speeding up a little too much—at least according to Garmin, which is not always completely accurate—so then I would hold back. Turns out I was a little too successful at holding back, and the first mile came in at 10:47. That's okay, though.
Mile 2 - This one was supposed to be a 10-minute mile. The challenge—run easy, but not too easy. This segment included some downhill and some uphill. Final time 9:57 (just about perfect!).
Mile 3 - Target—9:30. Time—9:29. I am so good! (And modest....)
Mile 4 - Goal pace—9:00. Actual pace—9:00. What can I say?
Mile 5 - I figured that once I got under 9-minute miles I could switch to increasing the pace by about 15 seconds per mile. Anything under nine minutes requires a little more work on my part, so any increase is a good accomplishment. I guess in future I could work on 30-second increases. But today I stayed on track with a time of 8:44!
Mile 6 - Obviously this was supposed to be an 8:30 pace mile. But, ahem, something happened. Frankly I don't know what it was, because when I looked at Garmin (all too frequently) I could swear I often saw an 8:20 or so pace on the watch. But, at the end, the time was 8:47. Hmmm.
Mile 7 - Guess this one would be the 8:30 mile. Final time—8:26! Yeah, baby.
Mile 8 - This was my last speed mile. Either 8:15 or 8:00 would be fine. This also happened to be the portion of my route that was almost entirely downhill. I just let go and ran about as fast as I could. I did have to stop for several lights, where I did pause the Garmin while I waited, but I think the benefit of having mini-breaks was made up for the seconds lost in stopping and restarting (so I'm calling it even). Final time for that mile—7:45. Woo hoo!
At that point I was nearing QFC and Starbucks (my destination and stopping point). I covered another .55 mile at 9:09 pace getting to the store (and one lap around the parking lot), then called it quits. I could have continued to circle the parking lot to make nine miles... but I thought that wasn't necessary. I still had a half mile walk home, anyway.
While waiting for my drink I checked the stats on Garmin. 8.55 miles, 9:07 average pace, 1000 calories burned.* Not bad for a Friday morning!
*I trust the calorie counter on Garmin because it gives me about 115 to 120 calories per mile running, and 80 calories per mile walking, which both seem about right. The calorie counter on Livestrong.com seems far too generous, at least for running, so I always use my Garmin numbers and convert them.