The life of a runner, mother, radiopharmacist and vicar's wife – that's me!
A mile or, if your iPhone autocorrects your mistakes, a smile was what was required today. I just had to run a mile. Can’t be too difficult, surely?
The idea when I started out on this 12 week Nike Training Club programme was to run a mile faster. So, today was really to set a benchmark for the training in order to assess progress. I’ll try to run a mile again at the end of the 12 weeks so see how much quicker I can go.
I decided to run on the treadmill. In some ways this makes it easier but at least the conditions will be almost identical when I repeat the mile in a couple of months. If I had run outside then the weather could have really made a difference especially as I would probably have to have run along the notoriously windy promenade.
I also decided to run off a standing start rather than starting immediately from the warm up pace with the treadmill running. This is a disadvantage because it takes maybe 20 seconds to get up to pace but I felt this would even things out a bit in comparison to a run on the track.
The other advantage of the treadmill is that it forces you to run at a certain pace. This is difficult to do if you are on your own outside but if you were in a race then you would be pulled along by those around you so it sort of simulates those conditions. However, on the treadmill you kind of need to decide in advance what time you will run rather than just going by feel as you would be more likely to do outside (although you would hopefully have some pace management or you would implode on the last lap) but it is far more controlled on the treadmill. In a race you might feel great and run a blinder but it is less likely that you would do that on the treadmill because you would (or I would) worry that you were going too fast and wouldn’t be able to maintain the pace.
So, taking all this into account, I set out with the aim to run under 6 min on a 1% gradient from a standing start. This meant I had to run at 10 mph, or actually a little quicker in order to take into account the standing start and the time to get up to pace.
I did a few warm up runs (just 4 x 100m) at a quicker pace just to get my legs used to running a bit quicker and then I tackled the mile.
It didn’t feel too bad running at 10 mph after the warm up efforts and I sped the treadmill up a little to 10.2 mph at about half way. It did begin to feel like quite hard work for the last third of a mile but I didn’t ever think I wasn’t going to make it and although I was hanging on a bit, it didn’t feel like I was going to collapse with exhaustion.
So, I was pretty happy with 5 min 54 seconds – or the mile resulted in a smile. 5;54 is a pretty good benchmark but I’m fairly confident that I can improve on that – but by how much? Will I be brave enough to really go for a fast time next time or will I be too conservative? Well, I’ve got a couple of months now to get fitter and give it a go.
However, it did make me think that perhaps I am fit enough to try to run a parkrun again which is another good benchmark for progress. It just depends whether I can be bothered to get up early on a Saturday morning!