Monday, December 3, 2012

Easy Does It

 I've seen conflicting views on easy miles.  Many look at these as recovery days.  Some call easy days "junk miles," meaning that they don't really count or add to training.
Easy days, where the pace doesn't matter, just getting the distance in, are very important.  Moreover they are not bad - they do help.  During my training cycles, I'll have 3-4 days of easy runs.  They range from 5-9 miles most days, and most days I don't even wear a watch for them.  It'll all about just getting cumulative miles.  Sure, it would be nice to push a 5 miler a little and get it done in under 40 minutes, but I'll take my time, and maybe run 9 minute pace.  Or 8:30.  Or 9:15.  It really doesn't matter.  I've had days leading up to a PR race where I've done my runs at a pace 2 minutes slower per mile than race pace.  And it can be a bit unsettling - during a taper or easy week, you feel like you should have a little more spring that whole week.  But easy does it - ease the mind and not worry about times.
This is coming from someone who can be neurotic about times.  Easy does it.
All my runs now are easy runs, and the pace really has varied.  Almost nothing has been faster than about 8:10 per mile for my runs since the mega mileage segment started.  I finished November with 161 miles - not too bad since that also included a week of no running!  I was supposed to hit 65 miles last week, but a busy weekend cut shortened Sunday's run, and so it 58 miles instead.  A missed run here or there isn't going to make or break the next few months, so I'm not sweating it.
Really!  And even though the next few days are a bit mild, this cooler weather has been nice.  I ran 10 miles after work Thursday afternoon, and scarcely broke a sweat!  Plus, I love that brisk feeling of stepping out into the cold - very exhilarating.
The photo company from the Veteran's Day 10k - when I broke 40 minutes - just uploaded their race pictures.  I have to say, Swim Bike Run Photography does the best job taking race pictures, and they let you download the pictures for free.  I had written on this race that I felt "light" - and for once, the picture captured that too.  This was coming in toward the finish, and I knew I was going to break 40, and I could not stop smiling.  And that sub 40 came after speed work, yes, but also a lot of days of easy-does-it running too.  Lesson learned.

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