Saturday, August 11, 2012

Magic Mile

Bippity Boppity Boo!!! With a swing of the wand and little swing in my hips, I thought I just might to see what this "Magic Mile" bit was all about.

It seems comes summertime as of late, I have been feeling the need for speed. Mind you, we are not talking the Goose and Maverick version that will have you doing an inverted cross with a MIG-29, but more of the oh shit, I opened the beer to fast and better suck down the head coming out before it spills kind of speed. Faster than I have been, but nowhere where I was as a yute.

Even though I am pacing a friend at the local 100 miler in September and am thinking of doing a timed 12 hour event after that, I have been hitting the circle of cinders weekly. A steady diet of  whatever # by 800's, coupled with the layering this week of 2 mile repeats, have the legs feeling like there is a little pop but I am not feeling the need to race at this point.

In the past, I have used the McMillan Pace Calculator to see where my workouts might project on race day, and they would probably be spot on if I didn't fall apart. So grazing the buffet of training plans available, I drifted over to Jeff Galloway and the Miracle Mile.

What I love about Jeff is he is a huge proponent of the run/walk method. As a newbie runner back in the day when gas was still, $1.08 gallon, I stated that I would never "walk" if I did a  marathon, I have done so in every one and found the magic that lies within this method when moving to ultras.

From the website, here is what Jeff has to say about the "Magic Mile":

After having worked with over 170,000 runners over 30 years, I've compiled hundreds of performances and have established a prediction formula based upon a one mile time trial. In other words, every 2 weeks or so, you can run a measured mile (at a good, hard pace for you) and use the time to predict what you could run at longer distances.
This assumes that
* You do the training needed for the distance and time goal (See my books Running Year Round Plan and Galloway Training Programs)
* The temperature on the race day of your race is 60F or cooler
* You pace yourself correctly and take the walk breaks necessary for your goal (see the same two books for details)  

 So the idea behind this "Magic Mile" is that after a proper warmup of at least one mile, and some acceleration gliders that you run 1 mile as hard as you can. Not puking hard, but so that you couldn't maintain that pace for another 100 yards. 

Mind you, I have not run an all out mile since high school. Back then, pimple faced and fueled by the Golden Arches, I remember running somewhere in the vicinity of 5:20-5:30's. Good enough for varsity, but only because no one else wanted to run the mile. 

With a slow building trot to the starting line, I threw my Road ID off to the side of the track to increase my aerodynamicness and began the 4 laps. A lot of rain had fallen in the last day so the inside lane of the high school tack was a bit muddy in spots and I swerved in an out to hug the inside. 

Round and round I went and with each lap so my rate of breathing became more labored. When I glanced down at my Garmin, I saw an uncharacteristic number at the head of the mile pace: "5" and the remainder of the mile became an effort to keep that number from turning into a "6". 

Crossing the imaginary finish line (Road  ID and hat), I checked the watch to see that I had run a 5:53 mile. Between sucking air down I cracked a smile and trotted the whole way home thinking that was a pretty good effort. 

Sitting down at the computer, I proudly punched in my "Magic Mile" time only to have numbers spit back out at me that turned my smile upside down. 

5k pace - 6:26/ 19:57 
10k pace - 6:46/ 41:57 
1/2 marathon Training Pace - 8:39 / 1:53:18 
1/2 marathon Pace - 7:04 / 1:32:29 
Marathon Training Pace - 9:39 / 4:12:47 
Marathon Race Pace: 7:39 / 3:20:23

In all honesty,  I should not have been disappointed. I have put in only about 4 weeks of speedwork, and have not raced at all to see where my fitness is at. A chart is chart. An algorithim taking into account many factors, it's not the end all be all. It is merely a reference point. Nevertheless, I think that I had better start scouring the interwebs for a race and make a date in a few weeks with another "Magic Mile".  

Thursday, August 09, 2012

Legs As Tour Guides

(Paul Revere statue on Freedom Hill Trail in Boston)

Heading out of town? First thing that goes in my bag are my running clothes. I don't know about you, but one of my favorite things to do when I am in a new place is to go for a run and use my legs as tour guides.

Sure, taking in the sights and sounds of a new place are exciting during a day when the city is alive, but I enjoy the stillness of the early morning when the city is just stretching it's legs and the promise of a new day rises above.

An added bonus to getting out there early and exploring is that I use the time to acquaint myself with landmarks and maybe even where we will be heading for the day or where to grab a bite to eat.

On a recent trip out east to visit my 94 year old Memere, we made a detour heading home to take the kids to Boston for their first ballgame at Fenway Park. Sadly, the Tigers got rained out and lost, but it provided me with the opportunity the next morning to take one of my favorite runs of all time.

Heading out from the hotel, I ran out and around Fenway Park, down to Boston Commons, and out and around the Freedom Trail before heading home. Nine miles of total bliss and a great way to see a big city.

Have you used your legs as tour guides? If so, what has been your most memorable run?

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