The last time I ran under 9:00 pace was May.

Next weekend I’m running the Philly RnR Half and I don’t want to go into the race blindly and not know where I stand with my speed.

This past Spring (and many years before it) I was solely focused on speed.  Then I switched gears entirely to train for a 50K.  Going from fast running to slow running was easy, although I must admit my pride took a hit (and let’s keep in mind “fast” is a relative term here).  But going from slow running back to fast running is frightening.  I knew I had to make a date with fear this week to assess my speed – and I was scared to death.

I often read about ultra runners PRing in marathons done as training runs.  These PRs are somewhat unexpected, as they focus little (or none) on speed work during ultra training.  But the sheer volume of their training and the adaptions that come with LSD running enable these PRs.  Also, since these marathons are merely a preparation for their ultra, they go into the race with little expectation.  It’s just another training run to them so there is no pressure.

I am hoping I can reap the benefits of a summer spent slogging through mile after mile next Sunday.  Do I think I’m in PR shape?  No, but I hope to come close.

My half marathon PR is nothing to write home about – 1:47 at last year’s Philly HM.  Given where I was speed-wise last Fall it should be closer to 1:45 or below.

OK, back to my date with fear (which kept getting delayed this week because of the humidity).  The workout was 8 miles with 6 miles “fast”.  I wanted to run between 8:00-8:20 pace and assess how this felt.  Not entirely scientific (I should have worn my HR monitor) but good enough.

The 6 “fast” miles:    8:14, 8:20, 8:19, 8:08, 8:13, 8:03.

I’m happy I was able to run the last 3 faster than the first 3.  Do I think I could keep this up for another 6+ miles?  Probably not.  My turnover felt awkward but that’s to be expected after a summer of slow running.

I got over the fear, I ripped off the Band-Aid…speed work is making a come back.  I’m going to see how things go at RnR…no pressure, just enjoy the race.

I still have the Philly HM in November and that will be my goal race.

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  1. says

    After running Boston and PR-ing in a half with a 1:47, I don’t think you need to conditions for what you call “fast” or discredit it at all – those times are straight up fast! You rocked those 6 miles and did awesome and I can’t wait to see how you do next Sun! I love the fall series of Philly races, these races always make me miss living there :)
    Beth @ RUNNING around my kitchen recently posted…"That was one of the best meals I’ve ever eaten!"My Profile

  2. says

    i totally hear you on the fear of speed – when you’re out of practice it really is scary to race, and i’m always struggling to pace well because i don’t want to crash and burn nor do i want to not work hard enough! but you’ve done so much great training for the 50k (a belated congrats on that btw!!!!), i’m sure that strength will help carry you through. sounds like you have the right attitude – next weekend will be a great experiment, and will help you better prepare for november!
    claire recently posted…Race recap: NYRR Bronx 10MMy Profile

  3. says

    I’ve actually found that my speed comes back more quickly than I expect after a season of running hills and trails. All those miles plus the harder terrain is a definitely strength builder. Good luck next weekend – looks like the weather should stay cooler through the week!

  4. says

    I agree with Celia on the no pressure thing, for sure! Nice work getting back into speediness. The fact that you have two halfs coming up is awesome – you can gauge your fitness at the first one and hone in on speed in prep for the second. Or something like that :)
    Kelly recently posted…56 days and countingMy Profile

  5. says

    I always have anxiety when running any race — fear of not PR-ing. I think that’s why I stayed so far away from 5ks. I was intimidated by them. All about speed in my eyes.

    I can’t believe the Philly half is this weekend already. I wish I did this one!!! My sister is doing the Boston Half this weekend. Have you dont that one before?

    Anyway, wishing you lots of luck. I’m sure you’ll do GREAT! Can’t wait to read all about it.

  6. says

    Hi Kristy! I agree with Celia, too– just try and go in with no pressure (though I know that is much easier said than done.) As for the fear– I am right there with you. Running my first marathon since injury/8 months off this Saturday. Very short and low mileage training program under my belt. Um, yikes? Haha. :) Good luck, Kristy! You’re stronger than I think you realize!
    Katie recently posted…That Sh*t CrayMy Profile

  7. says

    Great job on your return to speed work. I think your no-pressure approach is definitely the way to go this coming weekend, though who knows, you could totally surprise yourself.
    David recently posted…RememberMy Profile

  8. says

    Good luck this weekend!! Hope you surprise yourself! The Philly RnR half is the only race I ran twice…weird not running it this year. I know what you mean about shifting back to faster running. I got “lazy” summer (in terms of my pace) with my long runs this summer. It was rough starting to pick up that pace again, but it’s coming back.
    Amanda recently posted…I got a Jerb!My Profile



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