So my friends can run 9s all morning and feel good about it. Relatively speaking, I might feel the same way at 13 minutes per mile, but I'd feel like I was accomplishing little, and at that speed doing a 20-mile training run would take for-friggin' ever. As a result, my training runs tend to be fast (for me), but because I can't maintain even 11 minutes per mile for more than a half marathon or so, they also tend to be short. At a race, where I know I'll be out there all day anyway and I'm with people, I can mentally accept going 13 minutes per mile or slower. But I almost never run that speed in training alone, which is why most of my long runs tend to be races.
The effect of this is my training tends to lack very long runs. I do work hard in each and every one of my training runs, but because I work so hard they tend to be short. As a practical matter, I feel like I'm forcing adaptation. My body responds to daily hard work by making itself lighter, thus making the hard work easier. But that's little more than an educated guess. What probably is actually happening is that I'm an impatient fool who can't be bothered to run slow and get the benefits that I can only get by running long.
|My last three weeks of training. The 10-miler was a race.|
As my weight is dropping I'm starting to see the effects in my pace. The perceived effort I was putting into these runs used to net me 11 minutes per mile and now I'm doing 10. But I still have a long long way to go before I feel like I can run with my shirt off (which I guess is my goal.) As my weight continues to drop I expect a corresponding increase in speed, perhaps to the point where I can actually hang with my friends when they tick off a few dozen nine-minute miles. That would be nice.