After what seems like months of struggling with hamstring pain today's run were definite signs that progress is being made and fitness is improving. My Sunday runs recently have been doubles - fitting a short steady run of around 5 miles in before taking one or both of my boys to junior football matches followed up by a swift 5km or 4 miles on the treadmill whilst they hit the pool at the leisure centre with the swimming club (active kids!).
The morning run started off steadily at 7 minute miling but feeling good the pace quickly picked up after a mile or so and I found myself ticking off the miles at a quick 6-15 to 6.20 pace and ended up with a decent 7.5 miles at an average pace of 6.25 per mile. The best thing was the weather was almost perfect for a morning run with a light frost and a very light breeze and the legs felt great - no aches and pains and responsive to the pace that I pushed along at. The kind of run that makes you feel great to be a runner - Sunday mornings were made for these runs!
I decided to hit the road later in the day for a tempo session. As most of my recent tempo efforts have been treadmill based a road session would be a welcome change. With the morning effort in my legs I struggled for the first mile to hit the target time of under 6 minute miling but once I got into my rhythm I was happily going along at between 5.45 and 5.50 pace for the rest of the four mile run. Progress is definitely being made although I must admit the first mile of any run at the moment is a bit of a struggle...maybe that is just an age thing!
The Treadmill vs the Road - A debate many runners have and one which came up recently in a discussion with one of my training partners.
- My own speed sessions on the treadmill have been slightly quicker than that on the road but you cant beat the feeling of eating up the tarmac!
- There is no maximum speed limit on the road for a runner!
- You don't have to wait for a treadmill or feel guilty if you are on for more than 20 minutes. For a more scientific view have a look at this article which outlines some of the key differences in propulsive forces of treadmill running and advocates their use only for some specific workouts. Some "experts" feel the differences between treadmill and road running are so great that excessive treadmill use can actually impair running economy on regular surfaces.
Big test of consistency comes next week as I tackle the delights of the Maltby 7. My results in the last two years have been just 6 seconds apart so any where near the times of the last two years will do just fine to set me up nicely for the Leeds Abbey Dash on the 18th.
Happy winter running!