Just as I thought: threshold runs aren't as fun as they were last week. 'Course, a half inch of newly fallen snow covering some icy spots can make for some dicey running, but still. There is a big difference between targeting 7:40 pace and cruising at 7:35 verse targeting 7:20 and having a hard time maintaining 7:25.
Sure, terrain has something to do with it. And it may have been easier to keep to the 7:20 pace had I been wearing my racing flats, like I was during the race. But still, tempo runs may be one of my favorite workouts, and even moreso when I can slack a little.
But then they won't do as much good, and a point of this is to explore what the body can do when some discipline is exerted, right? A guiding rule for me in my training is let the easy runs be easy, but be sure the hard runs are hard.
Today's workout was supposed to be two mile warm up, 20 minutes a 7:20 pace, 10 minute rest, another 20 minutes at 7:20, and then a two mile cool down. My first interval was a 7:20, and my second was at 7:26.
Six seconds per mile isn't a lot. Less than 18 seconds difference over the 20 minutes, although that idea really makes no sense at all.
On the other hand, I had run the race on Sunday six seconds per mile faster, I would have squeaked out a #5 spot, rather than #7, and would have gone home with a really cool beer stein. Six seconds can mean the difference between almost failing, and almost succeeding. Six isn't a lot, but it means something. And what it means is that I think I'd be a little bit happier if I chose to work a little harder.
I'll let you know how that works out. :)