I can’t say I enjoyed the run/walk version of this course nearly as much as the previous week’s “long slow run.” There’s just something relaxing and meditative about going out for a long run that can’t be replicated when you’re breaking things up into segments. (At least not for me, not yet.)
On the other hand, it felt good to finish this 15-miler 13 minutes faster than last week (2:45 vs. 2:58). It wasn’t pretty, it wasn’t transformative, but it felt like the start of subduing this course, making it my own, and eventually getting better at it.
This wasn’t a standard 4 minutes run, 1 minute walk, by the way. Because the first 1 1/3 miles are on a fairly busy highway, I waited to start my first walking segment until I turned off onto the 6-mile side road straightaway that makes up the bulk of this out-and-back course. I walked for 1.5 telephone poles, ran half a mile, and continued that pattern until I got back to the highway again, where I ran it in.
I was a bit stressed about my pacing, first wondering if I was going too fast for a 15-miler, then fretting whether I wasn’t going fast enough to get a better time.
On the other hand, I never worried about whether I was going to make it, which is always part of the background noise on any run 15 miles and up. I knew with the walk breaks I’d make it, even if I had to slow down. Whereas when I’m in LSD mode (long slow distance), walking feels like failure.
To recap, in previous run/walk experiments I shaved 10 minutes off a 10-miler, 4 minutes off a 7-miler, and 7 minutes off a course of undetermined length that I ran twice, first running the whole way for time, then doing it again at a 4:1 run/walk.
I’m still not sure if I’m going to get in any long races before the Parlor City Trot half marathon on Labor Day Weekend, and I really can’t say if I’ll be running that one or run/walking it. More “research” is needed. But it seems clear that these run/walk sessions push my limits and I’d like to think that eventually they’ll help speed up my “long slow runs” as well.