When you have a breakthrough
Otherwise known as a single workout that's worth its own blog post
It's no big secret that I've been struggling with running lately in this awful weather. Last week's break up in PA helped rebuild my dwindling confidence, but I'm still a bit shaky. I ran outside on Monday here and I wasn't as slow as I had been previously, and it was just as hot, so maybe things are improving. But still...I wondered...
So, I decided to take my workout indoors to the track (not the treadmill - dear lord, not the treadmill). I wanted something that simulated road running a little better than the treadmill, but that also took away all of the nasty conditions I'm currently dealing with - heat, humidity, wind, etc. I knew I'd probably be faster, but I had no idea what I was about to do.
I planned on a 3 mile tempo run, so that meant running around that little track 30 times. To ensure I didn't lose count of my laps, I just counted to 10 three times, and set two timers (one on my phone and one on my watch, just in case), since I couldn't get a GPS signal in there.
And off I went.
I knew I was running faster than my regular runs, and faster than my recent races that I've done at tempo pace in the great outdoors, and I estimated it was probably about a 7:15-7:20/mile pace.
When I did the pace calculations at the end of my run (and double, triple, quadruple checked because I couldn't believe what I was seeing), I realized my overall pace for those three miles was 6:31/mile. What the what? I've hit paces like that before during speedwork with no problems, but those were in distances of less than a mile. This was 3 miles. Continuous. No stopping. I ran three miles in 19 minutes and 34 seconds. That translates to a 20:16 5K. That is a massive PR, people. Massive. Even if it was marginally off in distance, it's still much faster than I've ever run for 3 miles in one clip. Even if I miscounted my laps (and I'm 99.99% sure I didn't) and ran one short, that's still a 6:45 pace. If I was two short, it's still a 6:59 pace. Bottom line, this was a fast run. Period. End of story.
Obviously, I realize this was indoors in ideal conditions, so I have no delusions that I'm going to hop on the road and see this (or anything close to it) any time soon, in a race, tempo run, or otherwise. But, I know I have it in me and maybe I'll see something closer to it in the fall when the weather is more ideal. And while I do feel like I need to do it again to make sure it wasn't some weird superhuman fluke, it definitely boosted my confidence at just the time I needed it.