On Tuesday morning I had one of those magical run days. I was scheduled to do a 14 miler at “easy” pace (Pfitzinger’s “general aerobic” pace). That pace has meant in the range of 8:12-8:20 in recent weeks.
Well, my body decided it was time for an upgrade on Tuesday. I first surprised myself by doing my first mile at 8:50. I typically do a mile or two of warmup in the 9:30 or above range. So I could see that the fires were stoked and my legs wanted to go. I let them do as they wished.
It’s been a long time since I’ve done a progression run, but my 14 miler turned into one without any conscious effort. I just kept going faster and faster. I didn’t notice this was happening because, oddly enough, my heart rate was staying pretty much the same — in the mid-70%s.
I motored along in the 8:05-8:20 range for the first few miles, then did one in 7:43. Whoa! Where’d that come from? Then I did a few more of those. Took a little breather for miles 10 and 11 (8:00s) and then turned up the gas again, did a couple more in the 7:50 range and then finished up the last mile at 7:27. Even there, my heart rate was only at 82% for the last mile.
On Tuesday, it was as though someone held up a sign that read, “Hey! You can run faster! You’re fitter now!” I know that it’s the mileage plus faster running over the past eight weeks that led to this bump in fitness. What’s interesting is how such advancements sometimes make themselves known in the form of a “magical” run (or, if you’re lucky, a magical race, which for me was last year’s New Jersey Half Marathon). One day you’re plodding along at your “normal” paces; and the next — blam! — you’re flying on winged heels and aching to go faster still.
And with that, I’m off to the track for some 5K intervals…