Thursday, October 24, 2013
It's Thursday, a work at home day and a day for a lunch run. The plan was to run the same route I've been running for a couple of weeks, 4.3 miles plus or minus distance on the end to make 30 minutes.
After several weeks of above average temperatures, today was more like October. At noon I had partly cloudy skies, 47°F temperature, and a west wind at 21 mph. That's one degree cooler than Tuesday, wind 1 mph stronger, and the chance of the sun being behind clouds part of the time. I decided to go with the lightweight running tights, a lightweight long sleeved compression shirt, and my lightest winter running hat. I still felt a bit cool, particularly when running through shady spots. And while I got by running with bare hands, light gloves would not have been amiss.
Still, it was good. There is no bad running weather, only inappropriate clothing and inadequate public snow removal. Today, the clothing was good enough and snow is not yet an issue.
The one surprise issue was a dog chasing me as I came down the second of three little hills. Most times, this dog is either absent or chained up. Once, I've see a human out with it keeping it in control with vocal commands. It typically barks at me, as a stranger running through what the dog considers its territory. Today, it ran right out into the street. I crossed to the far side of the street from its home, and tried not to run into it. Don't want to hurt the dog. The dog did not bite, though it physically could have. It stepped on my heel once. Then I got past what it considered its territory, and continued the run.
That's one of those things that I think about with 20-20 hindsight. If I had realized this dog was unchained today, I might have turned around and not challenged its turf. If I'd been more scared of it, I might have stopped running and backed away slowly. But what I actually did was the best I could think of on the fly. Maybe I should have been more scared; but no harm was done. I won't hesitate to run that same street again, as I'm confident this was an anomaly.
Other than that little excitement, it was a pretty normal run. I tried to keep a pace that felt comfortable, which means faster than Tuesday but slower than last Thursday when I was pushing a bit, and definitely slower than a race pace. And that's how the results came in. I quit running at 30 minutes, just before I got back to my driveway. RunKeeper reported the effort as 4.29 miles in 30:01, for an average pace of 7:01 per mile. The mile splits were 7:18, 7:04, 6:53, 6:52, and a 6:45 pace for the last fraction of a mile. That's a typical pattern for this route on a lunch run, and I'm okay with that.
I'm pondering whether I should think of these lunch runs as training. If I do, the McMillan site suggested by PAULOBRY says I'm doing them as tempo runs. I don't understand that system all the way, but what I do understand is that there are different types of runs for different purposes. The tempo run is supposed to challenge the threshold between medium and hard. I suppose if I'm going to get a training effect from a half hour run, that's not a bad effect to go for.
But I'm not so sure that I'm really after a training effect here. Yes, I am gearing up for a 10K in a month; but it's more important to me to be able to run regularly than to do well in a race. Viewed from what's most important to me, the lunch runs during the week aren't really training. They're the goal. This is what I run for, to have the break, enjoy the scenery as the seasons change, enjoy the changing weather, and even observe the conduct of a dog that is unexpectedly unrestrained. All that is good, and it doesn't have a lot to do with training for a race.
On the weekend, I'll work on long runs. It will be a struggle to learn to run slow enough; McMillan says my long run should be at a pace between 7:48 and 9:05. If I try hard to stay slower than an 8 minute mile, I might actually stay slower than a 7:48 mile and fall within the lower end of that range. It's something to work on, because I do want to complete a half marathon; but even that goal is secondary to being able to just run regularly.
Today was my ninth run since graduating from walk/run intervals, counting last Saturday's race as a run. That's three weeks of running 3 days a week. While I'd like to run 4 days a week, 3 days a week is still pretty good. It's better than intervals 3 days a week, and far better than sitting out due to injury.
So perhaps I'm in training; but the training goal is not so much to run the best 10K I can as to build myself up to where running 10K is No Big Deal. Right now, running 4 to 4.5 miles is No Big Deal and doesn't need extra rest. It's not that much of a stretch to get to where 6.2 miles is like that. I'm pretty sure I'll be there in less than a month. Mid-November will be soon enough to decide whether I'm in good enough shape to treat that 10K as a race, or if I need to treat it as just another run.
Life is good.