There are some runs and training sessions that just blow away the cobwebs, the self doubt and the insecurities.
Although I have picked up a huge amount of experience this year alone running so many half marathons I have still been approaching Saturday’s race with a considerable degree of trepidation. Not that I haven’t been looking forward to it – I am – I’ve just been lacking confidence of late.
I haven’t been running as smoothly or as comfortably as I’d have liked, my body has been feeling creaky and old, and I’ve been wondering if I’m beginning to burn myself out.
That was all swept away today. My plan scheduled four miles: a warm-up mile, two at 11 minute per mile pace, and a cool down. Left to my own devices I would have put it off all day, went out this evening and hated it.
But, knowing my thought process very well by now, Bronagh messaged asking if I wanted company and so, at noon, out we went.
Picking the local parkrun course as our route we completed our warm up mile at a comfortable pace, although because it’s a warm-up I always find it a little bit niggly but I suppose that’s only to be expected.
And so onto the point of today’s session – the two 11 minute miles, which is half marathon target pace for me.
I always shoot off far too quickly when I’m trying to meet a certain pace but that didn’t happen today. I soon settled into a steady tempo, using my Garmin to keep as near to target as possible.
I’ll admit to finding the first third a bit difficult but once I’d found my rhythm and regulated my breathing everything else seemed to fall into place, completing the mile in 10:55 which was more or less what we had aimed for.
After a short break to stretch etc. we began our second target mile. Admittedly it might have been better to carry on running but this close to the race I didn’t want to chance an injury for either of us, so a short stretching break seemed the right thing to do.
Yes, we had rested a little, but this next mile felt easier than the one before it … a lot easier in fact. Indeed, we clocked a time of 10:31, some 24 seconds faster.
This pleased me for a number of reasons. Not only had we increased our pace considerably but I would have expected to do that after our little rest. I would have been a lot more concerned if we had clocked up an 11 minute mile, so it was reassuring to live up to expectations. Plus, don’t forget, this was our third mile of the day and we were going strong.
How I felt was also very encouraging. I could easily have carried on after the first target mile, and I could have just as easily continued after this one.
The cool down mile came in at just over 12 minutes, and it felt almost effortless.
At times, it’s all about how you feel and I felt good after this. A successful run, an enjoyable outing and just the thing to set me up going into half marathon #10 on Saturday.