I mentioned last week that for my return to speedwork I was taking a conservative approach to my paces for my half-mile and mile repeats workouts, working up to my desired pace by the end of the workout (rather than starting at the recommended pace).
Well, this past Sunday I had a tempo run planned, four miles at 9:39 pace with a mile warm up and mile cool down.
That felt a little slow to me (plus I misrembered when I got to the gym and thought it was at 9:30 pace), and I get easily bored on the treadmill and usually mess around with pacing to keep it interesting. So rather than keep it at an even 9:30 pace I started there, but then after a quarter mile I started laddering up (increasing my speed every 0.1 of a mile or so) for a while, then laddering back down, then holding at 9:30 again for another quarter mile or thereabouts.
At the end of my workout I had done the four miles at an average pace of 9:15. Nice.
And then, for comparison's sake, I looked to see what my training had been for this race last year. (I had used last year's results to come up with my training paces for this year. But it's been so long since I did any kind of speedwork that I was disbelieving of my ability to keep those paces, hence the conservative approach up until now.)
What I found out blew my mind. Not only had I not been hitting anywhere near these paces last year at this time, but my overall mileage (and fitness) was significantly lower as well. So while I may have started slower this year, I've been able to recover some speed pretty quickly.
Oh, I am going to rock it this year.
But first I have a couple of crazy long runs on my plate... my birthday challenge this Friday, and then, if that goes well, possibly my first ultra in April...?