Running at ‘practice’ race pace.

I woke up at 6:40 am all adult-like today. I was proud of myself, clearly my body was ready to wake up at this time and it was used to being a crazy morning person. So proud of myself in fact, that I figured I deserved to lie in bed for 5 more minutes. Almost an hour and a half later, I woke up. I admit, it was a great sleep… but it was a humid almost-20 degrees when I laced up for my run. I understand that many people (as in 93% of the world) live in hotter climates, but for Alberta, 20 degrees Celsius is a hot summer day. You are correct in understanding that 20 degrees Celsius is only 68 degrees Fahrenheit. 

On my training schedule for today was an 8 mile pace run. My number one goal for this marathon is to not have food poisoning. I just want to enjoy the race a little bit more than Calgary so I don’t have crazy time goals or a really specific pace I want to run. With that said, I am trying to realistically think about what pace I am in shape to run and how I want to run my race. I set out targeting an 8:25-8:30 min/mile pace today. I didn’t glance at my watch every 5 seconds like a crazy person, and I didn’t even change the screen to make sure my average pace was sub-8:30, I just wanted to see if my body and my brain could be in synch with knowing how fast I was going. 

It was a good run and it went by really fast. I was mostly thinking about cold drinks because it was so warm. I was also listening to the Jay & Dan podcast, which if you haven’t checked it out yet, you really should. It’s on iTunes AND on Youtube. Watch the latest one HERE! I felt like I was running a bit faster than 8:30, so I was happily surprised when I uploaded my run and saw 8:20 as my average. 

I wore a tank top on my run so that I could get somewhat of a tan. Working every day in an air-conditioned building is awesome for the most part except when everyone around you has wicked tans and all you have is a weird Garmin sunburn/peeling/tan thing from those couple of times you ran in the direct sunlight. At least I only have a 0.01% chance of getting skin cancer from my time in the sun. 

I think sometimes it’s hard to know what pace you are running without looking at a Garmin or a watch or your phone or your sundial. A lot of coaches and experts recommend running by time and not miles, or even running without a watch, just so that you can run by feel and not by numbers. Many training plans encourage getting to know what your “race pace” feels like so that you can naturally run it and know you can maintain it when it comes to race day. Instead of intently making sure your mile splits are EXACTLY what you intended, you will know your race pace by feel. I hardly ever can accurately guess what pace I am running so I guess I should have started doing these pace runs earlier in training. Oh well. 

Another benefit to knowing how you feel when you run your target pace is that you won’t start out too fast. Holding back at your intended pace usually helps you run a consistent race at an even pace, or run a negative split! I don’t know a single person who hasn’t started out too fast in a race, myself included, so that might just be my other Edmonton marathon goal – a negative split race. 

Being someone who passes people in the second half of a race is a lot more fun and encouraging that being the person that everyone passes in the second half of a race. 

Do you like to get in tune with your “race pace” before an event?

Do you ever run without a watch and just go by “feel” or is it ‘Garmin-or-it-doesn’t-count’ like me?


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