Pace v Effort
I wasn’t sure how this evening’s run would go after yesterday’s brisk walk in the rain. In fact, I almost didn’t go. My lower calves were feeling a bit tight and I was worried that I might aggravate the old achilles injury, but at this stage of the training plan the idea is to keep the pace fairly slow, so I figured I might as well give it a go. If it started to hurt while I was running, then I would simply slow down or stop. As it turned out though, my legs felt much better once I got going.
The aim was to run for 30 minutes between 6:40 and 6:45 minutes per kilometre and, for the first two kilometres, everything seemed to be going according to plan. The pace was comfortable and, with a good head wind to keep me in check, I managed to stay within range.
However, when I turned around to head back, the tail wind seemed to lift my pace a bit more than I would have liked. I wasn’t running any harder (if anything, it was much easier on the way back) but I just couldn’t keep the pace down.
In the end though, I realised that the pace itself isn’t too important; it’s the level of effort that counts. The whole point of controlling the pace is to make sure that I don’t push too hard and end up feeling too tired to train later in the week. So as long as I stick to an easy to moderate level of effort, then I should be ok. And, lets face it, a 26 km/h tail wind is going to knock at least a few seconds off anyone’s pace.
So, all in all, I’m happy with the result. My legs feel good, I don’t feel too tired and I’ve got tomorrow to take it easy before my next bout of speed training.
How do you plan your training runs? Do you aim to run at a particular pace or make a judgement based on the level of effort needed to complete the workout? Please share your thoughts in the comments.