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Will running faster in practice pay off?

Posted Sep 02 2009 8:03pm
I sure hope so! Watching everyone else post some crazy fast run splits of late has me looking for the jets I have been training so hard for the entire summer. Finally, some new times in the past month seem to point in the right direction. Now, all I have to do is apply them in a race.

This Saturday's sprint du seems like the perfect stage and I am pushing myself mentally to go as fast as ever. This may be tough as I did not position this race to be an "A" race but the reduction in training paces have me pretty excited.

Over the past several weeks, I have watched my easy run pace per kilometre drop by close to 15 seconds after nearly a year being stuck in the same time zone. My new comfortable running pace is now a lot closer to my old tempo pace and my new tempo is closer to my old race pace (in relation to 10k splits).

This may all be just a big illusion in my head but a number of weeks of continued results may be just enough of a confidence builder to help me pull off a great 7k on Saturday.

Gearing up for the race, I made sure to enter the last ITT of the FMCT season on Monday night. I just made it in time to hit the line (they actually waited a few minutes for me) but did not have any warm up at all. My legs were not responding to my desired output for the first 6k and I was averaging well below my normal rate for these rides. I finally found some power along the King Road section and then let it fly down the back stretch pushing 50 to 52 km/h to pump my race average back up over 40 km/h. This was just enough to edge out Richard by 3 seconds but he also was not properly warmed up so we pretty much went stroke for stroke.

Tonight, I threw in a decent brick work out in the limited time I had after the kids went to bed. Work has been silly since I came back from training so I have not put in my lunch workouts and really needed to put in something solid at night. I wanted to ride at a nice, relaxed pace and then pound out a hard 5k run before cooling down. Only issue was that I scared myself from riding on the road after watching the news and hearing about the latest cycling tragedies in Toronto. Just don't feel very safe these days so I took the cyclo-cross bike and hit the paved trails in the area. The effort was there but, with all the turns and obstacles, my average was well below usual.

Hitting the run, I had relatively fresh legs but I wasn't turning them over as quickly as the norm out of the gate. After the first km, I stepped it up a little and looked down at my Garmin to see a pace I don't see too often (except track workouts) and I decided to stick with it, that was until a train decided to come through and force me to turn back. I knew if I stopped and waited, I would be done so I looped back and lost a few seconds but got back up to speed.

I kept rolling along making sure to maintain decent form (not that I usually run my last duathlon stage with any form) and let the watch just beep away at each marker until I had put in 5k. I knew it felt fast for me but I was not ready to evaluate so I just slowed down for a few seconds and then eased it back home.

After cooling down for a few more km's, I got back to the garage to clean up and check my splits. I was happy to find that I had posted my quickest run off the bike in training and the pace for splits 3 and 5 were my fastest kilometres outside of a race or track workout by a good chunk of time.

These times may not translate into anything faster in a race but the results are very relieving as I had seemingly plateaued on my training runs for the longest time. I was starting to doubt if I could push it to the next level so I hope this is just the start of my climb to the next level.

Best of luck!
Larry
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