I was scheduled to run a 4 mile pace run this morning. I've had a slight cold the last two days (it's normal for a preschool teacher to get many of these throughout the year!), but I wasn't congested this morning. I was interested to see how I would do with the marathon pace run with such a light week of running since I am in the taper now. I struggled with these during my high-mileage weeks.
Well, I can see why Hal gives us this little run during taper time! It is for our confidence! My legs felt so fresh that the miles were very easy for me. I was able to use only one mile as a warm up, whereas before on my solo dark runs I've taken up to four miles to get warmed up. This run gave me some confidence about my pace for race day. You can see below that, even with the 8:04 first mile as my warm up mile, my overall pace was still a 7:27.
Oh, and the "high tech" picture below is courtesy of my husband. When I told him that I'd seen a Garmin screen like this on another blog, he was able to make one for me in no time! Very fancy! Thanks, Rick! I like this much more than having to recopy everything!
Your Take-Away Message
I promised you tips and strategies for your mental preparations for race day. My take-away for you on this run is two-fold:
* Completing short, on pace runs like this during your taper is a big confidence booster. It helps you feel the pace and maintain it for a short amount of time, leaving you knowing that you could easily do more. This is just what you should be thinking about in this stage of the game.
*From my run, you can see that starting slower than pace should not be a reason to be concerned race day. This is something that I was shocked to notice today. I thought I would just not count that first mile towards my marathon-paced miles since it was so much slower than I needed it to be. But look at the change that was made in just 4 more miles! The 8:04 did not "mess things up" for me. I tend to think in terms of black and white-- it's either on pace or it's not. Well, you can make up the difference! In addition, if you start fast like I tend to, hitting some slower miles at the end isn't going to kill your time either. I remember someone being shocked that I could have almost two 11 minute miles in St. Louis and still finish in 3:35. It's all about overall pace. Don't sweat on off-pace mile or two. Just focus on the one you're on!