Yesterday was my first venture down the road of the "Slow Long Run". Usually when I do a long run, I do it at about the pace that I want to run a marathon at. It usually isn't all that hard for an 18 to 22 miler, but my recent history with marathon finishes have made me rethink how I plan on running these long runs. And yesterday was the start of this attempt.
After only about 5 to 5 1/2 hours of sleep, I got up at about 5 and was to Mike's house by 6AM. A small tragedy was was in full process as I stepped into the house. Mike's son had gotten a crayfish as a school experiment and it was kept in a small Tupperware bowl. During the night, the crayfish escaped and was somewhere in the house (or the cat ate it?) Eventually it was found, alive no less, about 15 feet away near to sofa.
I was leaving before Mike and Chaz so they could run faster than me and we all end about the same time. In fact, the plan was for them to "catch me" about mile 12 and I was going to pick up the pace and run with them for the final 2 miles. So off on my own I went. The first mile was 9:06 and it was kind of hard to run that slow that early in a run. I slowed it more and actually averaged 9:40 at mile 12, perfect. We ran our usual course we call "The Looper", but this time was went down a new way for a bit to add about 2 1/2 miles to the course. None of us had run this part before and we were in for a surprise.
I take the new turn and all of a sudden, just past the herd of cows, there is a long steep downhill. the type of downhill you can't run very fast on. After crossing the river, a steep uphill until the next turn. I get to that turn and look ahead and I actually said out loud (I was by myself) "Holy Crap!" as I saw a hill that looked like a large wall. It was steep but I managed to keep my 9:35 pace. After that another downhill before the turn to another long 3/4 mile hill that was not steep, just long.
So far I am loving this new course, the hills will help so much. I get to mile 12 and look back and Mike and Chaz are nowhere to be seen. I decide to pick it up as planned without them. Like I said, so far the pace was 9:40 but mile 13 was dropped to 8:19, not all that fast for me, but fast after 12 miles. Then I had a nice easy downhill for a bit and ran mile 14 in 7:13. I was cruising! I finished with an average pace of 9:22 so I am happy with what I set out to do. I plan on running this new course again even if Chaz and Mike were cursing me while they ran behind me (it was my idea to run this new direction).
About 15 minutes later, Mike and Chaz run in and it turns out they ran about 30 seconds per mile slower that they set out to do.
I plan on another longer run next weekend. I am not sure how long but I will again try it at a slow pace. Right now I am thinking of 16 or 18 miles. I will see who is available to join me for the run first.