The main goal of a long run is to improve your endurance by raising aerobic metabolism. The pace is typically 75-90 seconds slower per mile than your 5-K pace and the distance can vary from 6-20 miles depending on your goals. The typical long run will start out with a few miles easy in the beginning as you get warmed up, pick up the pace in the middle to make up for the slower pace early on, and finish nice and strong so that the average pace is on target with your goal. The alternative is to hold a pace just a bit slower than goal pace, then hit the last 3 miles hard to make up the difference- kind of like "finishing strong" in a race situation. The recommended cool down is 10 minutes of easy walking, which I typically don't have the patience for, but I am working on it! When I am done with my long runs I tend to want to sit down and relax.
Yesterday's long run on my training plan called for 10 miles at an "easy, relaxed" pace, which was kind of nice. After 3 weeks of staring at my Garmin every 10 seconds to make sure I was running at the correct speed it felt odd to just go run however fast or slow I wanted. The hubby and I have been taking turns going first on Saturdays for our long runs- lucky me that yesterday it was my turn to go first because it was pretty warm outside! I headed out the door at 9am on one of my typical routes- down to Wright Park and back.
Even at 9am it was quite warm outside- I was happy to do 3 laps around the park and enjoy some shaded areas, that's for sure! I still found myself staring at the pace on my watch quite often, worrying that I was running slower than I should be. The I would tell myself it didn't matter- it was supposed to be easy and relaxed!! So I would ease back into a nice, gentle pace and just remember the joy of running. Except that I was hot and sweaty- that part was less joyous!
One thing I noticed about running around the park though- what is it with people walking next to each other, taking up the entire path and not moving aside for somebody running at them? I had to run around people multiple times which is very annoying. Also, I am not afraid of dogs- I love dogs. But if your dog looks like it might bark at me, lunge at me or chase after me as I run by and the leash is slack enough for them to touch me if they wanted to it makes me very uncomfortable. Animals can be unpredictable, especially if I startle them by running up behind them. Ok, enough about my pet peeves- for now anyways!
The last 3 miles were pretty warm and mostly in the direct sunshine as I headed home from the park. I ran out of water about 1.5 miles from home and debated stopping at the library to refill. But I decided to tough it out and instead opted to focus on a new mantra that popped into my head- "I'm almost done!" which I sing-songed all the way home.
I am always impressed with how sweaty I get these days, mostly because I never used to sweat. Honestly. Never before in my life has sweat dripped off of me the way it does when I run. It may sound gross, but I am fascinated by it. I think that is why heat affects me the way it does, my natural cooling system doesn't work all that well. Or something like that.
So my long run for the week: 10 miles, 1:39, pace 9:55- easy, relaxed and sweaty! This run also put my miles for the year at 654 which means I have 346 left in order to reach my goal of 1,000. Which means as long as I run at least 20 miles per week until the end of December I should make my goal easily!
Sunday's are an optional cross-training day with the Run Less Run Faster program and I typically try to get 2 or 3 in each month. Last weekend I managed to get an hour of spinning in, but yesterday we decided to go finish up back to school shopping and I ran out of time. I almost always work Sunday mornings from 5:30am-2pm so it is a matter of finding the time and energy to head to the gym on a lazy Sunday evening! Besides- back to school shopping should be considered a form of cross-training- especially now that there are TWO supply lists! And why is it so hard to find a pink pearl eraser and black flair pens???