Last week was a great week for me running wise. I was able to fit in 40 miles for the first time since Baby C was born 11 weeks ago. I accomplished this with 5 days of running, ensuring that I had my 2 rest days for adaptation and recovery. I had an awesome tempo early in the week and ran another timed mile.
6:11 – 17 seconds off of my unofficial mile PR of 5:54 from 2009.
Unofficial? I have never raced the mile, so my mile PR is unofficial. I went to the track one summer day in 2009 and told myself I was going to race the mile. I warmed up and then headed to the start line. I gutted it out for 5 minutes and 54 seconds and was ecstatic to have broken a 6 minute mile for the first time ever. A 5? Does this say 5? I am capable of something in the 5′s?
I used my Garmin and vaguely recall my watch beeping I had hit a full mile before I had actually hit the white line marking 1 mile on the track. At the time I thought nothing of it. I don’t know how precisely this track is measured, I thought. I don’t know if I ran the shortest route. It seemed perfectly logical that the Garmin would be slightly off from the track, but that my dear Garmin was correct and not the track.
Was I wrong? Maybe.
It’s hard to admit that a mile time I have been over-the-moon about for 2 years now might not reflect what my mile PR at the time should have been. Would it have been faster? Would it have been slower? It’s a distinct possibility it could have been the later.
Why do I bring all this up?
Have you ever had someone complain to you that their Garmin said they ran XX:XX:XX and that the race course they ran most certainly had to be long? I have – way too many times to count. I’ll admit that I am even guilty of saying that my Garmin had me faster than the time on the clock and that the distance I ran was longer than say 26.2. I always just assumed that I had not run the tangents on the course and that I had indeed run more than 26.2 miles on the course even though the course was probably exact.
My point in all of this is to bring to light the fact that your Garmin is not GOD. The numbers on the Garmin are not as exact as you or I would like to think. Further that any course certified by the USATF is certainly more accurate than the precious indispensable Garmin.
Need proof? Read this eye opening article In GPS We Trust.
That being said I ran my 6:11 mile on the treadmill this week and do feel the time was accurate, yet still “unofficial.”
For the first 3 miles of my 5 mile run I ran an easy pace slowly increasing the pace. Mile 4 I increased the pace so at the end of the mile I was running a 6:11 pace before mile 5 started. I did this to ensure that mile 5 was indeed a 6:11 mile. I can tell you that it was the hardest mile I have run in I-don’t-know-how-long. My thighs were burning, my arms felt heavy and every second seemed to feel like an eternity.
It got me excited for what is to come this year!
After my last post Jim asked me:
Great advice on the tempo run on the treadmill … it’s probably the only saving grace for treadmills this time of year. I would love to hear your thoughts on treadmill paces … in general, do you think they are accurate? thanks – great post!
I certainly do think the pace on treadmills are accurate! I’d venture to say that if they weren’t you would have some sort of class action lawsuit again treadmill manufactures – wink – wink.
As all of us know running on a treadmill is supposed to be easier than running outside, but for many of us it is not. I believe that when you talk about paces and times in relation to a treadmill you have to say it was a treadmill mile, or a treadmill 10K. I can’t simply say I ran a 6:11 mile without including it was on the treadmill. Whether it is faster than I could run outside or slower is a good question. I am not sure the answer. I personally typically have slower times on a treadmill than those I run outside.
|Wardian after the Woodrow Wilson 1/2 Marathon 2010|
I think I’m in good company when it comes to slower treadmill paces. Local stand-out runner Michael Wardian ran the fastest treadmill marathon on record in 2004, with a time of 2:23:58. I was at Pacers Running Store in Arlington and watched him as he set this record [which has since been broken]. His marathon PR is 2:21:37. Meaning that he should technically be able to run faster on the treadmill because there is no wind resistance or hills to contend with, but can’t.