It’s been awhile since I’ve run a race without actually racing it. I used to do it all the time with shorter distances in NYC, just for the sake of enjoying the company of friends and a few thousand other New Yorkers. Yesterday, I did it again for a totally different reason…
Although I’ve been doing well with my speed work and tempo runs, I can’t seem to get my motivation up enough during my long runs to maintain anything other than an easy pace. Not the end of the world, but you know. So my idea was to incorporate some race miles into my long run and using the adrenaline to keep my pace up — fast enough to get a good training run in, but not so fast that I would need to collapse afterwards.
Since I had 8 miles up on deck for a step-back week in my training plan, the Rykä-Frauenlauf 10K race seemed like a good opportunity for that kind of run — small, only €7, and not far from home. My plan was to take public transportation to the race, run the 10K, and then run the 2 miles home. But as it turns out, I also got to walk/run the 2 miles to the race since the trams were blocked by an ambulance and there was no telling when the tracks would be free. Bonus miles!
The race was two loops around Bremen’s Bürgerpark — a path I’ve gotten to know like the back of my hand this past year. I planned to do the whole run at an even 10:16 pace, but my adrenaline had me hovering at about 9:45 for most of the race. Since it didn’t seem overwhelmingly hard to maintain, I just went with it. Towards the end, when all the other racers were kicking it into high gear, I made a solid effort just to keep my pace steady and remind myself of the extra miles on my plate.*
But as you can see from my splits below, as soon as those race miles were over, my pace got markedly slower. Only part of that can be blamed on running through city streets rather than in the park. A lot of it was mental.
Even so, overall I ran those 8.22 miles with an average of 10:08/mile. It might have been more effective for my training to hold that all the way through — or even stick to the planned 10:16/mile — instead of letting the pace jump around so much. But I’ll take it anyway.
Four more weeks of training to go! Are you training for anything at the moment?
* It was a good thing I wasn’t racing it for time, since my timing chip malfunctioned! It was on my wrist and should have beeped when I swiped it over the timing equipment, but nope. Spent a good 15-20 seconds trying to get it to work before one of the volunteers called my time and number out to be manually recorded. I also didn’t stop my watch until after all the chaos was over, so I can’t even tell you my real time!