The New Normal – Part 2

A little over a year ago, I wrote about reaching a “new normal” pace.  Up until that point, I had been struggling for quite a while to get past the 9:00/mile barrier, but once I did, that pace became normal to me.  I no longer had to push to get there, it just became the pace my legs would take me when I went out the door.

Since then, I’ve gradually improved my running and, yes, even gotten a bit faster.  When I was heading out to run the Ragnar Relay in Arizona in February, I had a simple goal: don’t embarrass yourself.  Meaning, try not to be the slowest guy out there!  Once I had completed my first leg and handed off the bracelet, I was surprised when I checked out my Garmin:  a little over 4 and half miles at a 7:40/mile pace.  That was the fastest run I had ever completed.  Ever.  The next two legs went just as well:  6+ at 7:41/mile and about 5 and a half at 7:43/mile.  To be clear, before landing in Arizona, I had never in my life run at a pace under 8:00/mile, but somehow managed to turn in three runs in a row at better than that pace.

Last Sunday, I went in to the Heart Half Marathon feeling pretty confident that I’d be able to run a good race.  So confident that I lined up with the 8:00/mile pace group.  Granted, I thought I’d be hanging on for dear life, but I also didn’t think it was crazy either.  Again, I managed to run that race (a 13.1 mile race) at an average of 7:50/mile.

I don’t know this for sure yet, but each time I’ve gone for a run since Ragnar, my legs just seem to want to run at a pace close to 8:00/mile.  I’m kind of hoping this becomes the new normal.  We’ll see.



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