However, this time around I've been trying to increase my pace on workouts, with varying degrees of success. Instead of 7-minute miles the goal was a 6:32 pace. I wasn't sure I'd be able to maintain quite that speed but I wanted to try to stay at least under 6:40. How did I do?I had a familiar workout plan -- a set of tempo runs that gradually declined in length. I would start with a 22.5 minute tempo run, take a break, then do 18, 13.5, 9, and 4.5-minute runs. The breaks would also gradually decrease in length: 5, 4, 3, and 2 minutes.Tempo runs are done at a fast enough pace to get you to VO2 max fairly quickly -- 7-minute miles in my case. By taking breaks between each tempo, you can increase the amount of time you spend at VO2 max and therefore increase your fitness.
Tempo 1, 22.5 minutes:
Last time: 6:59, 6:43, 7:00, 6:46 for .24 miles, 3.24 miles total, 6:53 pace
This time: 6:38, 6:32, 6:37, 6:41 for .38 miles, 3.38 miles total, 6:39 pace
Tempo 2, 18 minutes:
Last time: 7:06, 6:55, 6:59 for .54 miles, 2.54 miles total, 7:01 pace
This time: 6:43, 6:34, 6:43 for .4 miles, 2.4 miles total, cut short at 16 minutes, 6:40 pace
Tempo 3, 13.5 minutes:
Last time: 6:54, 6:52 for .95 miles, 1.95 miles total, 6:53 pace
This time: 6:43, 6:37 for .41 miles, 1.41 miles total, cut short at 9:25, 6:41 pace
Tempo 4, 9 minutes:
Last time: 6:54, 6:52 for .3 miles, 1.3 miles total, 6:53 pace
This time: 6:58 for .84 miles, cut short at 5:49, 6:58 pace
Tempo 5, 4.5 minutes:
Last time: 6:53 for .66 miles
This time: skipped
On the plus side, my first couple runs today were pretty good, and I did manage to keep up the pace for most of the workout. In general I was faster than last time, and the terrain was tougher this time, with considerably more vertical gain (696 versus 201 feet). On the minus side, I didn't complete the workout, cutting three runs short and skipping the last one. I did manage to complete a full 16 miles, as planned, by doing a 4-mile cool-down.
So how does this bode for Mississippi? I would like to be able to do the half-marathon in under an hour and 30 minutes, which calls for a 6:52 pace. I was faster than that today, barely, but I'm not sure I could keep up a 6:52 for that long. That said, after averaging closer to a 7-minute pace during the previous workout, I was able to run a half-marathon soon afterwards at the same 7-minute pace. So maybe I'll be just fast enough. We'll know in a week and a half.
Details of today's workout are below.