*I wrote this last week, so the info is dated but still relevant!*
It’s amazing how the little things can make running/exercising so great. While I was home over Mother’s Day weekend I asked my aunt if she wouldn’t mind picking me up a couple pairs of my “fancy” socks (Experia) since I only had 3 pair and had to time my laundry just right so that they would always be available for my workouts. (My aunt warned me it would happen, but who knew I would become such a sock snob? On an aside, my aunt is the head buyer of a regional sports/outdoor store and she can buy things 60% off with her discount…basically, at cost…so occasionally I will ask her to pick something up for me…$5 for a pair of socks vs $13…is there really any question?) Well, they only had 1 pair of Experia left in my size, so she brought me Wigwam Ironman FlashPro socks to try. OMG. LOVE.LOVE.LOVE. I think I like them even more than the Experia. They are so incredibly comfortable. Cushiony but breathable and I really do like the fun colors too. HIGHLY recommend trying these out. (And I also have to say, I was expecting to pay for the socks, but my aunt brought them to me as a gift! She said it was a small “finisher’s prize” for doing my 2 half marathons! That is so sweet and really meant a lot to me!)
So I am currently on a 12 week maintenance plan that I “designed” using the Runner’s World Smart Coach program until I can figure out my next goal. I say “maintenance” because I really wanted to shed those longer runs during the summer so as not to dominate/define my every Saturday (that is where some of the previous burnout was coming from) but I am working a little bit on consistent “speed” training b/c I do want to get faster and stronger without the added pressure of a deadline/race. However, the Smart Coach paces seem really whacked out to me. With Smart Coach you are supposed to plug in past race times and it will set your paces for you. Well my Runpshaker 5K pace was 10:24 and Mercedes Half pace was around 11:30 (Nashville was all over the board…anywhere from 10:00 to 13:00…ugh). This Smart Coach recommends doing my runs at a 13:14 pace. Say WHAT??? Ummm…NO. So I have been using the distance recommendations and throwing their paces out the window.
For now, I would really like to get comfortable maintaining a consistent 10:00 mile over “distance” because I really feel like getting there will help me more easily break the barrier to running in the 9:00’s.
It seems like my typical running M.O. is to start of faster for as long as I can and then slow down with a slight kick at the end (For 5Ks I routinely pick people off in the last .25 and for the “halfs” it was anywhere from .5 (Mercedes) to a full mile (Nashville) that I was passing people right and left. With that being said, I want to keep my “kick” but really would like to be able to run negative splits, or at the very least stay strong and consistent for the entire run. My last few treadmill runs, I have been working on kicking each mile up by “.1”, so last night mile 1 was 11:06, mile 2: 10:54, mile 3: 10:40 with a kick to 10:00 for the last .1. (Ideally, each week I will kick mile 1 up by .1 so that I am starting and ending faster than the week before but I don’t think at this point that every run will be a planed negative split endeavor) Last week on a 4.5 miler, I did the first 1 at 10:54, 2-3 at 10:00 (with a .10 walk break in between miles) and the last 1-ish at 10:54. I really feel in the groove at 10:54 and honestly felt like I could have kept running for days. I really hope with consistent work, I can get stronger and faster and I can finally crack that sub 30:00 5K this fall. I’m hoping I can find a smaller race before Komen since I know Komen is not the place to do it. (With over 15,000 participants and walkers that ignore directions to stay at the back, way too much bobbing and weaving over the first mile to really give myself the shot I deserve.)