Time trial #1


I like to schedule a challenge into my training plans that I can repeat and compare results over time. For marathon training these challenges come in the form of 1-mile “time trials”. This serves a few functions outside of just being fun and (hopefully) offering encouragement. By testing my speed for 1-mile I can more realistically plan my pacing for the marathon,  and I can check to see if I can run economically under pressure (speed and fatigue). When I say “economically” I am referring to maintaining a running form that allows me to go fast without a) getting injured or b) wasting energy. I have been working on my form for the past six months. It initially has caused me to slow down but I think I am finally now gaining speed. I only had to make a couple of corrections during the fast mile yesterday. Once I complete a time trial with zero corrections, I am going to try some fast mile repeats. I am waiting because I don’t want to “practice” poor form.

Additionally, it feels really good to just let go and run as fast a you can once in a while.

Yesterday was my first time trial on my Boston schedule. I warmed up for a mile, timed a mile, then cooled down for a mile. I ran a 6:32. If that time sounds fast to you, take the following into consideration. In order to qualify for the “A” standard for the Olympic team trials for the marathon, you would need to run a 6 min. 4 sec. mile 26.2 times in a row. A 6:04 pace is no joke, for a 5k, but a marathon! That’s truly remarkable, and most of the professional women run substantially faster, routinely! Phew! If you aim for the “B” standard you can slow down to a 6:20 pace. Gee, thanks.

No, I am not trying to qualify for team trials. I just like to keep some perspective 🙂

It’s been rainy and icey for the last 24hrs or so in Chicago, so I opted to run on the treadmill. This presented several pro’s and con’s:


-lot’s of control for pacing, could warm up and build into my fast mile

-control of incline

-no turns, no hills, no slippery patches

-mirror so I could check and correct form


Mirror. Every time I looked left to check my foot strike, (still learning not to overstride) I whacked one of both hands on the rails. This is good because it means I am using my arms during hard efforts, but bad because it means I wasn’t very well balanced.

– All that control certainly doesn’t mimic real running conditions.

– Outside I may have done a faster mile (as I have in the past) because I would not build or risk underestimating how fast I can go, I would just go fast and try to hang on.

Like so many things in life the pro’s and con’s are hard to separate 🙂

I am happy with a mid-6 minute mile for my first effort. 5:45 would make me really happy.

After the run I did my weekly leg-focused workout. I think I got a nice adrenaline surge from the run because it was the best leg session I have had in a while, and this morning I am feeling the kind of  sore that makes you look forward to the next workout. (In fact, Spin class felt extra good this morning)

Some numbers (for entertainment value):

6 exercises, 18 sets, 264 reps, 45 mins, 2 lbs lost via sweat, 16 oz. of water consumed.

-Yes, I often weigh myself before and after a workout to see how much I sweat out. Not for any good reason other than I it’s amazing.



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