I've been enjoying the summer and I've been running a good bit of it. I haven't put together any training plans or entered any races but I've been fairly steady about going to the gym and running a mile or two as a warm-up every other day, running on Fridays after work at the Bridle Trails (until recently) and running on the weekend with the B.O.B. jog stroller more recently.
I'm always torn on how to spend my ~45 min a day at the gym during the work week. I usually warm up with a few min. of cardio and then hit the free weights. The last two weeks after watching my weight approach 200lbs I thought I'd try some outdoor running a couple of the days. I found a good 6mi. loop to run from the gym.
Being competitive I push the pace and so far (the 4 times I've run it) I've been able to improve my pace each time. The loop is split between gravel path, asphalt shoulder, dirt trail, and sidewalks. It's quite a hilly for the area. According to Garmin it gains/descends just over 2,000' in those 6 miles. I start fast and watch my 5 minute splits. I try to average at least 0.7 miles every 5 minutes. I don't know where I came up with that ratio but it's a good goal for me right now. So far my times have been:
47:06 (8:02 pace)
45:43 (7:40 pace)
44:20 (7:22 pace)
43:07 (7:11 pace)
It's a nice feeling to finish a hard run where you've been pushing yourself the whole time. I feel like I'm going between 90% - 100% effort the whole 6 miles. It reminds me of several years ago when I used to run with the Palo Alto Running Club. I treated the Tuesday night run as a hard tempo run and pushed to stay with the leaders, guys with sub-37 min. 10K PRs and sub 3 hour marathoners. They were running at 75% effort and I was at 95%. It sure made me run faster in the long run.
In any case, my current pace is a bit surprising given my recent running history and having knee surgery just over a year ago. I still try not to run back-to-back days and my weekly mileage has yet to break 25. I have no plans for racing this year but I'd like to do a 50K and maybe a marathon next year.
Today I got out for an easy run that I'd planned to be just recovery from the faster runs I'd done Tue/Thu. I ran out to Fox Island and back in just under an hour.
I felt like I was just trotting along at an easy highly conversational pace yet I averaged 8:39/mi. Surprising to me as I thought I was going about a minute/mile slower. No complaints, no knee pain. Works for me.