Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Perceived Effort

I decided to run the Ashland Railroad Run 10K this coming Saturday. Last year's race was my 10K PR (45:29). But, I'm not shooting for my PR this year but running with a friend to help him set a PR. We're going to aim for a sub-50. So, this morning, I wanted to see if I could do a tempo run at about 7:45-7:50 to see if I could get the rhythm.

Warm-up mile was pretty normal. Then I picked it up to what I thought was about 7:45. It felt hard, though -- I assumed it was because I had done the Ukrop's 10K only 3 days ago and my legs were still tired. I hit the end of the mile and hit the lap button -- only 8:00! That was really discouraging, not because of the time but because it felt like 7:30. So, I did what any smart runner would do and slowed down.

The second fast mile didn't feel any easier even though I figured it was about 8:15. In fact, it felt harder. Hit the lap button -- 7:50!

So, naturally, I slowed down even more. Yeah, right. That mile actually felt better but, go figure, that mile was 7:14.

Lesson learned: perceived effort is a poor predictor of actual pace.

Second lesson learned: determining actual pace on an unmarked route and checking pace at 1 mile intervals is not highly effective. A Garmin or Pulsar are almost essential -- but that's an expensive solution.

Third lesson learned -- or, maybe just a rhetorical question: How in the world am I going to be of any help to my friend on Saturday if I can't judge pace any better than I did today? (Of course, maybe today my internal pace-o-meter was just out of whack.)
1.00 x 8:53.96
1.00 x 8:00.07
1.00 x 7:50.31
1.00 x 7:14.62
1.26 x 10:14.44 (8:07.65 mpm pace)
Run well, y'all,
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