One week and one workout into my Philly training, and I'm feeling fabulous. I still have a long way to go - 15 more weeks - and I know there will be lots of ups and downs in those 15 weeks, but right now I'm excited and I go into every workout with enthusiasm (and a touch of fear), so I'm going to enjoy that while it lasts.
With the Run Less, Run Faster plans, you jump right in - there's no real buildup, but I knew that, and I was more than ready and well-positioned, having kept up some great mileage the past few months.
Jumping in with one-mile repeats is definitely kicking things off with a bang, though, and as always, I was a little nervous standing on the track getting ready to go. The humidity was awful, but I got the miles done right around the 6:33 pace I was targeting.
The Thursday tempo run proved slightly more challenging. I ran with the running club, and paired off with a much faster friend. In retrospect, I shouldn't have even told her I needed to run two tempo miles, because her easy pace is practically my tempo pace - but I shared my planned workout with her, and when we hit the 2-mile mark and I said it was time to pick it up, pick it up we did - in a major way!
The plan called for the middle two of our 6 miles to be run at 7:04 pace. Instead, we ran a 6:50 and a 6:42!!!! I doubt I ever would have gone quite that fast if I had been by myself, and it was a tough two miles, but I was amazingly proud of it when it was over.
Making that run even more interesting is that we were literally trying to outrun a major storm system, and we sort of failed. The worst of the storm didn't hit us, but the edge of it did, and although we were lucky to not get any thunder or lightning, we did get an absolute deluge of rain with some hail mixed in. On the bright side - it was nice and cool!
Those are the runs that truly build character - and the ones that you really remember, too.
Rounding out the week was my first long run of 13 miles, with a planned pace of 8:19. I ran the course of the new Gansett Half Marathon that my running club is putting on in November, and I kept trying to slow down to that 8:19 pace, but it was impossible - the course is just so flat and fast, I averaged a 7:51 pace, and it honestly felt pretty good.
Running at sunrise helped, too - temps were cool and comfortable - a welcome change from Tuesday's humid conditions.
I know I can't run all my long runs that fast, and I'm going to be very conscious of that for this week's 15 miles, and be sure to slow it down a bit.
But being able to run what is my planned marathon pace for 13 miles this early in the plan gave me a lot of confidence. There's a lot of race-pace training to come, and I fully expect it to feel easier and easier as the weeks go by.
I remember feeling this way during my Boston 2013 training - confident, ready to work hard, and excited to see the progress I knew I'd make over the coming months. It's great to feel that way again, and to go out and run and feel like my body just knows what to do when I get out there.
I'm at the point now where I am loving being back on a plan, and I'm savoring every moment. This plan is no joke, but it's been a while since I've worked this hard, and I was ready for it.
Nine or ten weeks from now may be a different story, but I won't worry about that right now. One workout, one run, one mile, one step at a time. I'll get there, and it'll be worth every single effort it takes.