A few weeks ago I started a piece determined to convince you guys that goals were not a necessary part of running for me. It ended with me fully committed to trying to improve my 10k time. So much for my easy going free spirit.
Many of you know that I’ve been doing mile repeat workouts on Sundays and they’ve been kicking my ass. I’ve been doing six of them, at an 8:49 (and sometimes 8:42, I usually do the last couple a bit faster) pace. It may seem crazy to say after putting in several jogs between 12-20 miles for marathon training, but the mile repeats are some of the toughest running that I’ve done. Sustaining a pace where I have to push myself for more than a couple minutes has really been a different sort of challenge.
There are just four weeks to go until my race and I thought since I’m in full-fledged goal mode now, I should put a number out there. While I’m doing my mile repeats at the pace listed above, I think my real goal is to average under 9 minute miles. The reason I started doing the mile repeats at that faster pace was because my best half marathon time is 1:58:22, a 9:02/mile avg. Quickly I thought ok, I can do a 10k way faster than that. As I’ve trained though I’ve realized that it’s not going to be that easy. In all honesty, when starting this process, I had no idea what my best 10k race time actually was so I had to go back in the archives to do some research. I found that in 2010, I ran a 10k in 56:59, a 9:11/mile pace.
I’m not sure what to take from that time. Part of me thinks I can definitely improve upon it considering how much I’ve been through as a runner in 8 years. In 2010 I wasn’t doing different kinds of workouts and I wasn’t strength training. I would just run–as fast and as hard as I could sustain. I’ve got more miles under my belt now–more experience and more knowledge. Still–the other part of me thinks, shit, I am eight years older now, maybe I can’t run any faster than that!
Logically I know that I am not old and I can still improve and get faster. The proof is out there–in all of you guys. I have seen that it can be done. I think I’ve just been feeling a bit sluggish lately. While I feel like a badass when I finish my tempo and mile repeat runs, I’ve also at times been feeling like a punching bag during them. I always run and work out in the morning– I would never get it in if I put it off till later. For years I have been able to lift and run on empty. I have my regular ACV and lemon before I leave for the gym, and even a little bone broth before I run for the salt, but for the most part, I’ve always had enough energy in me from last night’s dinner to pull me through. Lately that doesn’t seem to be the case. By the time I get on the treadmill (which I usually use for my speed workouts and do after I lift) I feel like my tank is empty and I’ve got very little to draw from.
I’m not your normal carb-loading runner. Grains create too much inflammation in my body and I’ve just never felt good eating a lot of them, regardless of how much I am exercising. I’ve realized though the past couple weeks that I need something. I am not sure if it is me aging or my body changing, but running on empty just does not seem to be working for me anymore. My Vitamix has reclaimed it’s ginormous plot of real estate on the very limited counter space in my kitchen. I’ve been whipping up a smoothie of kale/banana/strawberry/almond milk +vega green protein powder before each workout and so far it does seem to be making a difference. I’ll admit it though, I’m still waiting for that miracle run–where my energy is through the roof and I feel like I could jump right out of the gym. Am I fooling myself? Are these days in my past? I am inspired by so many other athletes who seem to improve as they age. I also wonder though if my expectations for how much energy I can have are realistic. I treated my body so badly from the ages of 15-25, but I still felt like a lightning bolt. I am older now, but I’ve been hoping that taking such better care of myself would keep me feeling that youth. Perhaps it has. I am sure if I was still partying like I was and abusing my body, I wouldn’t be able to do any of what I do now. I guess I do the best I can and adjust my nutrition–and my expectations, as I go.
So, I think my official time goal for this 10k in four weeks is going to be 55:25 (8:55/mile). I think it’s going to be quite the crapshoot, it could really go either way. Because my fitness has felt so up and down, I am really looking forward to the race as a measurement of how much I should listen to my brain. I am putting in the work, but my heads telling me everyday that I am out of shape and I can’t keep up with the goals I set for myself. It will be interesting to see how my mind and my body either work with or against each other in this endeavor. Either way, I think it’s a goal that’s challenging me in a lot of different ways and will benefit me mentally and physically going forward.
Please, do tell me…
What’s going on with your running/other types of workouts this week? Are you training for a race or an event? Taking it easy?
How do you feel about your energy as you age? Have you gained, have you lost? How have different types of nutrition affected your ability to maintain a certain level of activity? Any pre-workout foods that put your energy level through the roof?
Have you gotten faster as you’ve aged? Slower? How has age affected your performance and how you view yourself and your abilities as an athlete?
Has anyone trained primarily on the treadmill? How has it translated when you’ve stepped outside and into a race?