Thursday, January 10, 2013

Worth Its Weight

A friend of mine recently posted this article on the 25 Golden Rules of Running to my facebook, and boy am I glad she did! The "rules" in the column range from the practical (what to wear in certain weather) to the technical (how pace adjusts for different distances). While some of the information is common sense for me as a runner at this point, some of it was exactly what I needed. Here are some of the main things I found useful; I highly recommend checking out the full article.

The Seven Year Rule: Apparently, runners tend to plateau after they've been at the sport for seven years. This means that I still have three or four years of solid improvement ahead of me before I can really decide I've reached my peak. Does this mean I could someday be running races at a pace in the low-9s, or even the 8s? Here's hoping!

The Sleep Rule: For every mile you run a week, add a minute to your sleep-schedule. (Weeks I run 20 miles, I should be getting an extra 20 minutes of sleep a night.)

The 10-Degree Rule: For someone who constantly questions what to wear on a run, this was so helpful. Dress as though the temperature is ten degrees warmer than it says. That is, dress for your mid-run "feels-like" temperature. I overheat so easily, but seeing 40 on the thermometer (, since no one uses a thermometer anymore) freaks me out, but if I'm wearing long sleeves and running tights in that weather, I'll be boiling by the time I'm a mile in, and then my run suffers. Here's a handy chart from the article that I plan to commit to memory:

Click image to enlarge
The Long-Run Pace Rule: I was happy to read this rule because it makes me feel better about running 6+ miles at a snail's pace. Apparently it's recommended to add three minutes per-mile to your usual 5k pace to determine your long run pace. Now, I'd be running at 13:00+ if I did that, but running a long-run at 10:20 doesn't sound so bad now. PLUS, that tells me I could run my 5ks much faster than I have been if I just put my fear of having to stop and walk aside.

The article also included a pace prediction chart I absolutely love:

Click to enlarge.
I am most familiar with my 5k time, so looking at my usual 29-minutes, I can predict my other race times. According to this, if I really actually planned to run a full, I could get away with it in 4:34 (h:m) or so. Even more interesting? If I ran just a single mile, I could do so in 8:37ish (m:s). That's really quite something for me to read, because I never run such a short distance, and now I'm kind of interested to see how fast I could run it if I were planning to just gun it and go. I can't go full-throttle on the first mile of a 4-miler, but maybe if I planned to just run a single mile, I could test out what I'm really capable of.

The rest of the article touches on all kinds of things runners may like to look at, such as how to determine speedwork pace, when and how to start breaking in a new pair of shoes, and rules about recovery post-race or post-injury. Seriously, check it out.

I'm glad I did.


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