A view from my side.
Ok then. Soccer season has ended, the mental and physical readjustment period is over and it’s time to get back into the running program. I’ve kept up some semblance of runs, never going more than two days without running at least 3 miles, but now it’s time to get back to the program I started so long ago.
3 days on, 1 day off, 2 days on, 1 day off. 5 days running, 2 days rest. The 3 consecutive days will be shorter runs, say 40-50 minutes each, then a rest day. The first day back, a medium run, say 70-80 minutes, followed by a long run of 90-120 minutes. I decided a long time ago to run a specific time as opposed to a specific distance. For me, it works better mentally, to have a total time goal and let the distance fall where it may. Some days, I feel stronger than others and I might run a longer distance for a given time. Other days, I’m just coasting and enjoying the book, music, scenery, etc. I just want to get my body out there, moving and running for a set amount of time. I get “more” out of that, mentally, than I do running specific distance. I’m not sure why that is, but I’ve adapted and it works for me.
The last few runs have been faster for some reason. I stick to whatever pace I’m feeling comfortable with for the amount of time I want to run. The last few were shorter, 40-50 minute runs and my pace was around 8:30 a mile. That’s a good 15-20 seconds faster than usual for runs of that time. I felt great during the runs, breathing easy, legs light and heart rate steady. When I finished, I felt fantastic, full of energy and rejuvenated. That’s the feeling I go for and one of the main reasons I run. That feeling of “oh hell yeah!” I have when I’m done.
Now, I understand that 8:30 per mile is slow for many of you, and it would have been for me, as recently as 10 years ago. But as I make the transition from shorter sprint runs, like 5Ks, to longer, semi-endurance runs, like half marathons, I’ve worried less about the per mile pace and more about the total time. And for me, that’s the key to the plan. Run a set time and let the pace fall where it may. I want to be able to run for 2 hours total. I want to be able to run for 3 hours total. Once I get to that point, I’ll hit that time more and more. Theoretically, as I do, the total mileage for that time will increase as my body becomes more comfortable with that total time.
We’ll see…it seems to be working for me. And now that I’m not on a soccer pitch 3 hours every afternoon/evening, I’ve got the time to get back to it. It’s time now to start over…sorta.