Taking a rest day from running yesterday due to my quad gave me plenty of time to reflect on how far I’ve come as a runner since last year. A lot of days I feel like I am the exact same runner I used to be. But looking through my Garmin Connect data I see that I have made some pretty decent strides over the last year.
Now, I hardly ever share my pace on this blog because 90% of readers here know they are faster than me. This blog is definitely not the blog most people read to be inspired to run fast. (If that’s what you’re looking for, please check out Lauren’s blog!)
My pace just doesn’t feel important to share. I’d much rather talk about marathon training, running ultras or my cat! I think maybe the last time I wrote about my pace was in February when I ran a 5K. Adam and I showed up late. It wasn’t a PR day. I ran at an average pace of 12:49.
Today I want to share a comparison (that surprised me) of where I was at last summer vs. this summer. I have to use comparative numbers from May 2013 / May 2014 because I apparently did almost all of my runs on the treadmill last June, July and August and as such they aren’t logged in Garmin Connect to easily compare against this year.
In May 2013 I was moving much slower and way shorter distances than I am today. Here’s a sampling from my Garmin dashboard:
As you can see, some days I didn’t even make it a full mile and my paces were wildly inconsistent (and included A LOT of walking). Seeing these numbers really surprised me because I started half marathon training last summer, and I thought I was running much longer and faster at the beginning of the summer. I guess I didn’t really start training for my half until July 2013.
My average pace during half marathon training was an inconsistent 14:30-16 minute mile so it came down a bit from the chart above simply from working with a coach who helped me correct the inefficient things I was doing.
I looked through my old posts to see what I was thinking back when I was running the numbers listed in the chart above. When I started working with Coach Joy back in June 2013 I was doing 2 minute jog / 1 minute walk intervals. She moved me up to 3 minute jog / 30 second walk intervals and that’s why one and two miles suddenly felt really hard. I did note that even though the new run/walk intervals were much harder I felt like I was making progress.
So, for comparison sake, let’s look at a sampling of May 2014 paces to compare to the 2013 numbers above:
Side by side:
In May 2013 I cut a 4-miler short and it took me 1hr 6mins. In May 2014 I was running easy 4-milers in the 55 minute range and my paces were obviously a lot more consistent.
(I had stopped using run/walk intervals for a while during the winter on runs under 5 miles, but towards the end of April I started including them again because the heat/humidity was just killing me so these numbers reflect my paces with walk intervals in them).
Before I looked up these paces I honestly thought my numbers this summer were pretty similar to my numbers last summer. I guess it’s hard to judge my own progress by feel since everything happens gradually.
I still have a long way to go before I reach my pacing (and distance) goals, but I’m excited to see what happens when the weather cools off.
I don’t think I’ll ever be a run blogger who posts her paces every day, but I do think I’m going to start writing a monthly recap that includes my overall pace for the month. I think that will help me keep track of my own progress better, and stop me from sometimes feeling down on myself when I feel like I’m not improving. It will also motivate me to try harder!
If I could shave off 11 minutes from my 4-mile pace again next year I’ll be in a pretty good spot : ) Although I really can’t imagine that will happen again. I think that big jump came simply from having the confidence to say to myself, I CAN run, I don’t need to walk so much! I can do this!
When I started training for a 5K in 2012 I really didn’t take it seriously at all. In 2013 when I started training for my first half marathon I took it very seriously, but only when it came to distance. I didn’t do anything related to speed and I was happy just to finish.
When it comes to the marathon I have coming up in October I’ll be happy just to finish, but this will be the last race I run where my only goal is to make it to the end. I want to work hard this winter to improve my paces so that I can have time related goals at future races.
I feel like I was decently dedicated to my speedwork this summer. I know there were some nights when I could have pushed harder, but I let the heat get the best of me. This winter when the weather is a brutally cold 80 degrees (hah) I want to really take advantage of it and work hard.
Next year around this time I want to feel like a more complete runner… as in one who takes both distance and speed seriously. I don’t need to run 50-miles at an 8 minute pace (not that I will ever be able to do that anyway), but I do want to run whatever distance I’m faced with at a pace that I feel confident about.