I ran 21 miles today. It wasn't as big as it sounds though b/c I split it into 2 runs. Funny how much less challenging it is to run that distance when you take a 5 hour break between runs!
This morning I ran 7.5 miles and I used my HR monitor as a leash which meant it was quite easy. Unfortunately it was also quite slow and left me feeling frustrated. Seems like my pace at those low HR runs should be getting faster. Every once in a while I have a run where I'm able to keep my HR low and not have to slog along at a slow pace, but the vast majority of the time those HR runs are pretty slow. Some might disagree with me, but I think there's still some good benefit to running with the HR leash even though I've done a ton of it already. Sometimes I have to work hard at convincing myself that keeping my HR low is GOOD b/c I often finish those runs feeling like UGH. I suck.
This afternoon I headed out for a 13.5 mile loop and on purpose I left my HR monitor at home. My plan was to run it by feel and if I felt ok, do a bit of tempo/progression the last 3-5 miles. In good news, I felt quite strong and finished faster than I started, even though I started with 2 miles downhill and finished with 2 miles uphill... So A+ on pacing by feel. My afternoon run was avg 30+"/mile faster than my morning run, which means I probably was running with a HR upper 150's/low 160's and that effort was quite sustainable. Toward the end of my run this afternoon I was thinking that this is where all that easy/slow running pays off. When I finally take the leash off and just let myself run, the fitness comes through and I don't blow up like I do when I'm skipping those easy miles in favor of more quality. So I will keep sucking it up and running with my leash for the bulk of my runs.
4 weeks til the Maui Oceanfront Marathon. I don't have any black & white goals for that race but my thought was just to try to get as fit as I can and see what happens. I feel like I'm on track and if I manage to feel like I did tonight, I'll be happy!