Today I had one of my best runs to date. It was easy and it was fun.
Since first running 5K a couple of weeks ago I've been gradually increasing my distance, but finding it hard going. I know the problem was I was not running slow enough. I've read about the benefits of the Long Slow Distance run (LSD), and knew that the LSD run should be at 'conversational pace', or about 60-70% of effort.
Previously I've never managed to run slow enough for it feel much less than 90% of effort..
Using this calculator: goodrunguide.co.uk/Training... I found I should be running at about 8.34 mins/km for my long run. This just happens to be almost the same pace that my son's girlfriend is managing for her 10K training (her 10K race is next weekend), so we agreed we'd run together today. She'd set the pace and I'd show her the route through the local woods and tracks.
It was a lovely autumnal day and a delight to be out running in the woods and along country roads. My legs were still a bit stiff and tired from yesterdays hillwalking trip with hubby (~17 km and 1000m ascent), but we were both able to run along slowly and chat. I never thought I'd reach a stage where I could run and hold a conversation! And it was a proper conversation - not just the odd grunts. A couple of times on the small hills, I felt I was barely going faster than my usual walking pace, but that was OK. Now I know this is my optimum LSD pace, I'm happy to go slow for one day a week!
We ran down the middle of the single-track road, with only about 3 cars passing us in the hour or so we were out. The woods were quiet too with no dog walkers about and there weren't any foresters or farmers out and about at the trees or fields neither.
We ran 8.5 km - the furthest I've ever done - and were tired when we returned, but I did not get as hot and bothered as usual, nor as *desperate* for a drink, although my mouth was dry from talking! Looking at our pace on Runkeeper we were happy that we'd kept a fairly steady pace - except for the small, steep hill, one kilometre from home!
This distance was more than I had planned following the 'increase the weekly distance by no more than 10%' guideline, but the other runs this week will be shorter. I'm ready for an easy (walking) day tomorrow, before tackling either speed- or hill-training on Tuesday.