After a rough July, August has been good to me. My fitness isn’t back 100 percent yet, but it’s getting there. I’m happy just to be running healthy right now.
The focus this month was to rebuild my mileage and my aerobic fitness. That meant a lot of heart-rate based runs at slower-than-average paces for me. I tallied just three rest days after taking 16 days off the prior month.
I love data, so here are some interesting facts:
In August, I’ve run 154.5 miles at an average pace of 8:26. That makes August my slowest month, on average, since March 2015, when I first started running again after three months off, and ran 39 miles at an average pace of 8:58.
My trailing 365-day total mileage, 2101 miles, stands at its lowest point since March. And I am 150 miles behind pace for my year-end goal of 2,300 miles.
Despite that, there is room for optimism, in particular, the simple fact of making it through the month without any other additional setbacks. Beyond that, I had a decent 4 mile race, my recovery pace is finally showing improvement and I had a decent workout today, too.
The 4 mile race was a PR at 26:49, a 6:43 min/mile pace, but that PR pace was 10 seconds per mile slower than my half marathon PR pace. But on a hilly course on a crazy humid day, it’s a good sign of progress. Meanwhile, yesterday, I ran my best heart rate-based recovery run since July 3, with an average pace of 8:37 min per mile while keeping my average heart rate below 143 beats per minute.
And my workout today was somewhat encouraging. The goal was to run 14 minutes at threshold pace, 4 minutes of recovery, and then another 12 minutes at threshold pace. Since I’m still a bit out of shape, I was aiming to run this at between a 6:30 and 6:40 minute per mile pace. I ended up running 2.14 miles over 14 minutes, a 6:33 pace, and 1.8 miles over 12 minutes, a 6:41 pace. That’s an overall pace of 6:35.9 minutes per mile.
For reference, I ran two similar workouts back in June. One was 10 minutes-8 minutes-8 minutes and the other was 12 minutes-8 minutes-8 minutes. My overall pace on the first was … 6:35.9 minutes per mile, and 6:31.6 minutes per mile on the second workout. That means today’s workout was the exact same pace as my first similar workout back in June. I was working harder than I would have liked for such a workout, but overall, it’s not a bad effort for a warm, humid morning.
Going forward, the plan is to continue to build my mileage, with the goal of being back in the 50 miles per week range by the end of September, and to add in some more workouts to regain my fitness.
I have two races on the calendar next month, including a half marathon on September 18, and a 10 Miler on the 25th. The goal for the half will be to run at goal marathon pace – 1:30. Meanwhile, I plan to actually race the 10 miler.
I’m not quite sure yet what that will mean, but my hope is that I’ll be able to race at my March half marathon PR pace for the 10 miles for something like 1:05-1:06. At the very least, I should be able to nab a PR since it’s been awhile since I’ve run that distance. My current PR is 1:11:54 from 2013. Of course, as I learned in Boston, weather can definitely be a factor here, so TBD.
The challenge will be that I’ll be on vacation for much of the first two weeks of the month. That will mean being creative with my training plan to work around some days when I know I certainly won’t be able to run (like when staying in a small Swiss town nestled in the Alps). This will also be my first time ever running at altitude, so I’m curious to see how that goes.
The end of the trip, at least, should present a nice opportunity to run a solid tempo workout. We’ll be ending the trip in Reykjavik, and running a tempo workout in 45-50 degree temperatures sounds amazing right now!
After that pair of races it will be time to shift focus back to the marathon distance. The 10 miler is 16 weeks out from the Charleston Marathon, my next marathon goal race. The good thing about building up and preparing to race that distance is that it will leave me in a good spot for jumping back into marathon training for the first time in five months.