Monday, February 22, 2010

Progressive thinking during a progressive run

Like every Monday, yesterday was my progressive build run. It was not much different than the previous week's progressive build run. Or the week before that. Although I did manage a slightly faster pace for the last lap. (See graph below)

But I got to thinking during this run... It's pretty easy to pace myself on the indoor track because I'm timing every lap (which is 1/12 mile). If I run a lap too fast, I can slow down for the next lap, and vice versa. And even if I took the run outside, I would have my GPS watch telling me my pace. But how would I pace a run like this without any sort of timing device? How would I know each mile is faster than the one before it? And how would I make sure I don't go too fast early on? This is where being able to listen to your body comes in real handy. To be able to know the difference between a 10 minute mile and a 9 minute mile just based on how it feels is a supreme art form.

We, as modern day runners, get so caught up in our gadgets, gizmos, stopwatches, GPS devices, heart rate monitors, and shoe pods, that we forget to just FEEL. While these gadgets are useful and are there to help us become better runners, I think at the same time, they cause us to lose touch with ourselves. I'm not sure I could duplicate the run graph above if I had no timing device. Well, I couldn't duplicate it at all because I would have no data to graph, for one thing. But say I clicked the lap button every lap but never looked at my watch to see the lap times... would I be able to get such a nice progression? Probably not. Pacing by feel is really pretty tough to do. Even elite athletes have trouble sometimes - elite marathoners often have pacers for the first 20 miles to help them make sure they're not going too fast or too slow. Of course, they are aiming for a very high precision in their pacing. Me, I'm just trying to stay within 30 seconds of a certain pace.

Maybe next week I'll run my progressive run without looking at my watch. I'll try to run it by feel. It will be interesting to see how that chart looks...

Peace. Love. Train.

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