Friday, December 10, 2010

5 miles ...

For the first two years of my running, I think I had a mental block. I averaged 10 minute miles on my training runs whether I was running two miles or 20. I can't be sure why that happened, but looking back on it, I am starting to suspect it was because I "told" myself that that was the pace I could run.

But about eight months ago, I started to "run slower, to run faster." I found the proper pace zones based on my PRs at the time and I stuck to them. I built my mileage base. I stopped running every training run at the same speed. I became more deliberate in my training. And over the course of months, I saw myself (and my training posse) get faster.

The other day, G and I were talking about how "9 minute miles are the new 10 minute miles." And how without us even realizing it, we have managed to up our game. Obviously, we realized that our times were dropping, but we hadn't paid attention to how far we had come since this time last year (kind of like someone who loses a ton of weight, but they don't "see" it because the loss has been gradual for them).

Yesterday, we ran our five mile loop. The same five mile loop our group runs twice a week. When we finished, my Garmin read an average pace of 8:51. And we talked THE WHOLE TIME. All I could think was, "8:51? That's nuts. There was a time in the not so distant past when 8:51 would have been 5K race pace for me."

That's when I decided to go back and see the progression of pace over this five mile course. And here's what I found ...

On 9/8, we averaged 10:12
On 10/5, we averaged 9:49
On 10/26, we averaged 9:40
On 11/30, we averaged 9:19
and on 12/9, we averaged 8:51

And the intensity remained the same ...

So, what does this show me? Well, two things. First, that if you want to improve, you need to be deliberate about your training. And second, if you want to improve, you need to BELIEVE that you can improve.

36 comments:

abbi said...

Great post! And, wow, look at your difference already!

momof3 said...

and a GBA** training group doesn't hurt.

My favorite thing about this is that we deliberately set out to Run Slow to Run Fast.

AND this also comes back to firing the mental block.

Earth Momma Mer said...

I plan to do the same. Kick my 11 min plateau to the curb. Hello 10 min pace. I CAN and WILL do it! Thanks T!

Wells L said...

That's incredible. I really would like to get faster some day. You do have determination and dedication. Great job!

Jogging with Fiction said...

That's awesome. I've actually seen the same thing happen with my training. Not too long ago I was averaging 10 minute miles even when I only ran a 5k, but now I'm up to 8:30 min miles for 10 milers. It's awesome!

MCM Mama said...

Awesome! I'm hoping to see similar when I get back to real training in January.

Marlene said...

This is why it's nice to run the same routes over and over again - to really see progress with the same conditions.

That is some serious improvement. I love the term "deliberate training" - that is something that I really embraced for the first time this year.

The book is going out in the mail today!

Silly Girl Running said...

If you keep improving your paces on that 5 mile lap like that...you might be heading for a World Record in a couple of months! ;)

sokkamum said...

That's fantastic...and it gives me hope! :)

Emz said...

running is like Santa.

You've
got
to
believe!

Shellyrm said...

Great post! Wonderful advice for runners looking to increase their pace. Or anyone trying to reach for more out of themselves.

Runners Fuel said...

Great post!

Kerrie T. said...

This is so awesome, T. I have noticed in my recent training, too, that I'm getting faster, but running at the same intensity. I haven't been worrying about speed as much this time and I have been running my "long runs" very slow. First, I'm enjoying myself more. Second, I'm getting faster.

Great post!

Aimee said...

Awesome post! I think that more often than not we get stuck at a comfortable pace b/c we don't think we're capable of running faster. But, when we put in the training and start believing that we can go faster, than great things start happening! :)

Stacie said...

That's awesome T :) I'm hoping that if I keep doing things right, it will start to pay off for me too.

wojoku said...

It is always nice to see your times improve and or your ability increase. I'm personally always looking at my times, comparing, trying to find the tiniest bit of improvements from one day to the next, so I've adopted the "you're not allowed to run with a watch" approach. haha Every so often I'll deem it a timing day and grab it, but otherwise, I just let myself find whatever pace I'm going to go at and not worry about the small improvements.

Congratulations. Here's to the eight minute mile pace!

Pam said...

WOW. That's a humongous difference. I know that mental block very well. I guess more than a block, I've just kind of been SCARED to push myself during this training. Now that the marathon is over and I've got no pressure, I'm interested to see what I can do speedwise when I put my mind to it.

Jen said...

I love it and just told TriGuy this the other day... my last 10 miler was like a 845 pace, and I talked most of the time!

Great post!

Marlene said...

Okay T, the book is in the mail! Shipping is ridic to the US so I setn it on the cheap (ground) - watch for it in a couple weeks, just in time for you to read after your vacation. :D

Hope you likey!

Char said...

That's amazing to see when it's documented like that. Well done.

Alanna said...

Thank you for putting into words what I have been unable to - I'm totally linking your blog today! Somehow I feel bad for getting faster...

Michelle said...

That's an amazing improvement in your times. I would so like to see my high 10's become mid - high 9's!

I'd love for you to post more on how to train deliberately!!

Lesley @ racingitoff.com said...

Exactly what I needed to hear, and this is exactly my problem... same pace, all the time.

sTyliSH1 said...

It's so true! I just started running and I find myself trying to just go with the pace I'm used to rather than pushing to go faster. Since I'm new to it I'm trying to figure out a way to schedule faster runs, if that's even possible. But like you said, you just have to believe you can do it!

racing dawn said...

Love it. I'm trying to get those mile times down too... Follow the plan, follow the plan, follow the plan... :)

Julie @ Hotlegs Runner said...

I think I should go check mine! I don't thin I improved as much as you did though =(

trifitmom said...

so true. i too finally found that training with intervals and tempo runs actually did help my time. love it

BabyWeightMyFatAss said...

excellent!

Christine said...

Wow, congrats!! Keep up the good work!!

Katie A. said...

Just getting all caught up! Sorry, crazy week!
SO proud of you! You are amazing and all that you have accomplished! Be proud lady!

Ugh, sorry about the water heater! I hope it's fixed by now!
Have a wonderful weekend buddy!

Katie A. said...

Just getting all caught up! Sorry, crazy week!
SO proud of you! You are amazing and all that you have accomplished! Be proud lady!

Ugh, sorry about the water heater! I hope it's fixed by now!
Have a wonderful weekend buddy!

Terri said...

That's awesome - what an improvement!

Katie said...

This is a great post! Thanks for it! I am one of those that run a 10 min mile no matter what. It really is all psychological for me.

Tricia said...

congrats!

and thanks for giving me something to think about

Karen said...

That's awesome and so very true! :0) Thanks for sharing that!

Mel -Tall Mom on the Run said...

BELIEVE, where have I heard that word before. You have UNTAPPEd speed in those quads and with G by your side LOOKOUT.. Here's to a speedy 2011!!