Tuesday, January 29, 2013

11:38 Is the New 10:00

Workout: 3 miles, 11:38 average

Alternate title: Okay, Two-Minutes-Slower-Than--Marathon-Goal-Pace, you and I are gonna get along just fine.

Before we get to it, I know I said I was going to do this at 12:22 pace, but it turns out I'm an idiot. 12:22 is actually my target "recovery" pace, whatever that is. I'm taking that to mean the pace between speed intervals. My actual easy run pace will be more like 11:38. I know you were screaming, "FILTHY LIAR!" at your computer so I thought I should get that out of the way before things got tense.

Snow! Elf Shoes!

Like I already said, running more than a minute slower than usual was pretty awesome, although I will admit it wasn't the cake walk I had envisioned. Due to time constraints, I decided to run on the only flat stretch of road in my neighborhood, a decision that was made infinitely more tolerable by the fact that it was snowing. Falling snow makes any run fun! Well, almost any run.

Since I imagined 11:38 to be incredibly slow, I started off at more of a shuffle than a jog. Two minutes later I looked at my watch. 15:00. Oh. I sped up and looked again. 13:30. The hell? I sped up once again. 13:00. You see where this is going - 11:38 isn't nearly as slow as I had imagined. I was determined to stay above my goal pace, so it took 34 minutes of slow acceleration before my average finally got to where I wanted it. And although my breathing was easy, when I finished I definitely felt like I had gone for a run.

Whoops, didn't realize the average displayed on my watch isn't moving average. 

The run was actually really enjoyable. Sure, it took longer to complete, but my breathing was slow and steady and I didn't feel any tweaks or "niggles." I mostly just watched my dumb dog go about her simple life.

My two main takeaways:
  1. I now believe I will be capable of running the higher mileage demanded by sirs Hanson in their training plan since much of it is at a very slow-for-me pace.
  2. Although I am likely capable of that higher and slower mileage, it is going to be tough. Running at an 11:38 pace is still running.


Because I won't shut up about the Hansons (not to be confused with these guys. Side note: I never really realized how androgynous slash just plain feminine those brothers looked), I plowed through most of their book last night. Bailey was more than happy to assist me.

I swear I was actually reading and not just staring at the pretty Amazon tree.

Admittedly, I skimmed a lot of it. I was so excited to buy the book that I vowed to read each and every word, but once words like "slow twitch fibers" came into play I was kind of over it. I appreciate the fact that the plan seems to be based on sound science, because science is the best, but I don't really want to read about that science. Other people can make sure it's legit and I'll take their word for it (anyone have a bridge they're looking to sell?).

Most of what they say makes sense intuitively (although loads of stupid shit has probably made sense "intuitively" at one point or another) and I'm eager to give their plan a shot. I'm so not with them on their nutrition advice, though. If I remember correctly (that's a huge "if" - don't take my word on anything, ever), they recommend that a runner consume four hundred calories per hour if exercising more than four hours (ie. running a marathon). Four hundred calories? Any other time I'd be thrilled about eating four hundred calories an hour, but not when I'm on the brink of death. For anything less than four hours, I think they recommend  taking in 300 calories per hour. There's got to be a typo there. Right?! The frequency with which they advise one to drink water is also suspect. Then again, what do I know? I'm a nobody.

I'm enjoying this whole question thing. Makes me feel a little less narcissistic. Here we go!

  • Four hundred calories an hour: yay or nay?
  • Do you think running much slower than usual rocks as much as I do?
  • Do you like reading about science? Give me social science research any day and I'll eat it up, but the second I encounter words like "nuclei" and "biology" my eyes glaze over.
  • Do you like running in neighborhoods? Or do you think they're the ABSOLUTE WORST like I do?


  1. Running at any pace is still running!! :)

    1. You're absolutely right! I was just too dumb to fully embrace that until yesterday.

  2. That's still a great run!
    Hmmm.. 400 calories an hour?? whoa. that'd be a huge huge adjustment to me. I'm used to running 1/2 marathons just drinking water!
    I'm planning to do a run that's much slower than usual soon - I think I'm going to enjoy it!
    I don't totally mind neighbourhood running , I guess it'd be nice to have nice scenery around me, but I've noticed I'm only focused on keeping myself alive and moving as I struggle through every run. haha!

    1. Yeah, I highly recommend trying a slower run. I felt so amazing afterwards and really think I'm going to be able to increase my mileage much faster than I have been that way.

      City neighborhoods are DEFINITELY more interesting than suburban neighborhoods. It seems like you've got a lot more to look at than I do in my area! And like you say, staying alive should definitely be priority #1.