Yesterday's workouts went well. Actually, I did Tuesday's run (the EASY! 3-miler) and Thursday's swim...I had to rearrange a few workouts in order to make time for family stuff. Hey, whatever works, right?
First, I started the day with the easy 3-miler. Again, coach's instructions were to keep this at an "EASY!" pace and in zone 2. The result? 3 miles at an 11:52 pace with my average heart rate at 129. After work I went to the pool and did my 2,000 yd workout. As part of my warm up, Coach gave me 8x50 "your choice", which means I could do any stroke, kick, whatever. This was the perfect opportunity to try out my new toys! I used the new kickboard and pull buoy, but the best part was using the fins. Holy cow, I could propel across the pool at warp speed (or close to it) with the fins on! Fun times. Even with the new toys, I don't love swimming, but they certainly make things more interesting. And the workouts have been challenging, but fun. Last night, I actually had a few brief moments where I felt like my swim was starting to come together - I felt like I was actually propelling myself forward, instead of barely crawling down the lane. Again, brief moments. Very. Brief.
This morning I set out for my 6-miler. This time I was allowed to run at my "Marathon Pace". According to McMillan, marathon pace should be around a 10:59 minute/mile.
This is where my faith kind of falters...
I'll admit, I started this run slightly faster than my marathon pace, but it was a pace that was pretty easy to me a few weeks ago. And today that pace felt hard. Maybe it was because it was freaking warm outside (~70 degrees with 100% humidity), maybe it was because I was soooooo tired this morning and barely made it out of bed (must go to sleep earlier!), or maybe it was my lack of stellar nutrition the past couple of days (not horrible, but I had some sweets I wouldn't normally eat), but I felt slow and my legs felt heavy. Naturally, I also questioned whether it was because I've been running so dang slow lately. What if I forgot how to run faster? I was frustrated during this morning's run. I wanted to toss the heart rate monitor in the nearest trash can.
I know a lot of people who swear by heart rate training. I know you have to be patient with it. But, I couldn't help wondering if all this slow running was going to screw up my chances of having a good, strong race at the Houston Marathon. Then I had to remind myself that Houston is not my "A" race. I don't have to PR. Yep, I told myself this, but deep down it's hard not to try to do better. I want to finish knowing I did my best. And yes, despite what I keep telling myself, I do want a sub-5 (if the weather is just right and I feel good on race day!). I run because I enjoy it, but I have a hard time running a "race" just for the sake of finishing it regardless of my time. Part of what I also enjoy is the internal competition with myself.
I hear Coach's voice saying, "be patient" and "trust the process", but with only 1 month before Houston, it's hard not to just go back to what I was doing before. Patience is not my strength!
Have you or people you know had success with HR training? Do you really run "EASY" (aka a much, much slower pace) each week? Do you run slower to run faster -or- run faster to run faster? How competitive are you with yourself?