Friday, December 4, 2009

cold or boring, pick one.

I missed Wednesday's run staying at home with a sick family so I was motivated to make today's run happen. I walked over to the gym at lunch like I always do with plans of running my 6 mile loop. As I walked it seemed colder than the last few days... much colder. I looked at the weather on my iPhone and saw 34F as the current temp. I had only packed shorts and two shirts to run in. I'd left the running tights and hat at home figuring that it'd be in the mid 40s as it was on Monday. I'd be pretty uncomfortable at the start of the run and maybe barely adequate during the run. I'm a cold weather wimp so I took my run inside to a treadmill.

The plan for today's run was slightly different. I was going to actually do warm-up and cool-down miles. Normally I just get going fast from the start. I'll be doing a sub-7 min pace within the first 1/10th of a mile out of the gym parking lot in the interest of saving time. As I've been reading Run Less Run Faster and looking at their prescribed runs and paces I see that they always recommend warm-up and cool-down as part of the run. No problem if I'm out on the weekend but at work I'm under a little more time pressure. According to my 10K pace from last week I was going to do the warm-up and cool-down miles at an 8:00/mi pace and the middle 4 miles at a mid-tempo pace which was 30 sec slower than my 10K pace or 7:10/mi.

I set the treadmill to a 3% incline and started off with my warm-up mile. It didn't feel all that slow. Maybe I'm supposed to gradually build up to 8:00/mi pace. Next I upped the speed until I was doing a 7:07 pace which was the closest I could get to 7:10. The next few miles felt fast but didn't go by fast enough. I had my iPod on shuffle, watched the other patrons walk by the row of treadmills and tried to ignore the big TVs playing CNN and some other horrible news station. After 2.5 fast miles I really wanted to slow down the pace and was about to do that but remembered the incline so I dropped it down to 1.5% instead of slowing down. That made enough difference that I could keep up the pace for the next mile and a half and make it to my cool down mile.

I'd forgotten how boring running on a treadmill was. I don't know how I did it when I was living in England doing 12 - 15 mile runs on them when the roads were too snowy to run outside. I worry that a bike trainer is going to be horribly boring just like a treadmill, and I haven't bought one yet because of this fear.

In any case I got my run in the books:

6 miles
7:26/mi pace

I'm not training for anything right now. I'm sure I'll go for Chris' 40 at 40 challenge as I love a bit of good natured competition with friends but I don't think I'll settle on a race to enter until at least spring. I have a silly idea that I'd like to run a 50K before then but I'm having trouble finding one around here. I'm doing 16 mile long runs these days mainly because I can and because that's about 2 hours of running for me. I guess I'm saying that I could be smarter about my training but I'm not really training for anything.

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