Although each of my coaches were vastly different in terms of strengths, weaknesses, personality, and character, one commonality they shared was the belief that you cannot reach a goal time unless you know what it feels like to swim that fast. For instance, when I was trying to break the 1 minute mark in the 100 butterfly, I knew that I needed to swim the second 50 yards of the race in 30 seconds (give or take a tenth or two). So my coach would have me do 50 butterfly repeats (with tons of rest) where I had to hit 30 seconds on each one. Or he'd have me do 25s where I had to reach my goal time of 15 seconds on each.
I had to feel it.
I had to know what my goal pace felt like.
I had to be confident while swimming at that pace.
And, therefore, I had to swim at that pace again and again and again and AGAIN.
This belief/training technique is one of the many lessons from swimming I have applied to running. Although I do not need to run every long training run right at my goal pace, I do need to run intervals or shorter distances right at race pace to learn what it feels like and to be confident running at that speed.
My long-term, reach goal for the coming years is to qualify for the Boston Marathon. The qualifying time for my sex and age group is 3:40.
A 3:40 marathon basically boils down to running my qualifying race at an 8:23 per mile pace.
That is really stinking fast.
I don't know if my body can sustain that type of pace, but I want to give it a try. I want to give it my all. I want to run a marathon aiming for the stars and see how close I can come to grabbing one.
|Photo taken while running at an 8:34 min/mile pace at 6:40am.|
I believe that training my body to feel, know, and be confident at this pace will take a lot of time and effort. But I do believe that I am capable of running at this speed and qualifying for the Boston Marathon.
Here's to many more morning runs with Marta where my pace per mile is under 8:30 per mile...