Weekends are for “long” runs, especially when you are building up for a race. It was about 30 F this morning when we left for our exercise, but clear and promising to become warmer. Today’s course was out and back on an asphalt bike path. Pretty flat but trending upwards from start to turn around, rising about 600 feet. You might not think of a 600 foot rise as flat, but I live in mountains, and I think that 100 feet per mile is dead flat, so 600 feet in a little over 4 miles is “pretty flat.”

I do everything in metric distances, which works out great for a half marathon (21k). The half is easily thought of as 4 x 5k plus a 1 k finish. I don’t really pay attention to the 5k splits, but I do pay attention to the 8k splits because 8k is 5 miles and my 8k time is just about an hour. So the half is 2 x 8k plus 5k. I’ve slowed down as I age, and my pattern today is run-walk with a walk break every 2k (1.25 miles). My times would be better, of course, if I didn’t take the walk breaks, but not much. After a break I start running again at a pace that is faster than when I stopped, so I tend to make up the lost time. The walk breaks at the end of the race are the expensive ones, so I’ll try to eliminate at least one in the final 5k.

The program today was a 2k every 15 minutes (12 minute miles), so 14k comes at 1:45. I was a couple of minutes behind that, so not too bad. The idea of writing the running plan and putting every outing on the calendar seems to be working, too. I do a lot of calculating while I run: am I ahead or behind? can I make up what I just lost? if I keep this up, what is my time for the next 5k? 8k? 10K? half? Even if you are slow, you can still have a lot of fun and get a sense of accomplishment doing this. My head knows that. My heart is still a little off the pace.


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