I didn't intend to run seven miles today. I was meaning to run six miles when I first stepped on the treadmill. Somewhere early in my run, I decided to go 6.2 in order to simulate a 10K. As it turned out, though, I went a long distance. And I felt pretty good.
On Saturday, of course, I ran the Mud Run, all of 10 kilometers. I've got the Mission Inn Run coming up in two weeks now but having trained and prepared for the Mud Run has also made me primed to run this upcoming 10K. If it were this Sunday instead of two weeks from Sunday, I would be confident that I would not only finish the 10K but do so in a good time, in what I consider a good time for myself, anyway.
I think overall though the run wasn't as challenging as it could have been. Yes, running seven miles is a daunting task. However, my heart rate rose fairly steadily throughout the last three miles; actually, to be more precise it was almost stagnant for 20 minutes or so.
I suppose I should take that as a good sign. If and when I run a half marathon or even a 10-mile run, I'm fairly confident now that I will be able to reach the 10-mile mark without maxing out my heart. In other words, I will have quite a bit left in the tank for miles 10, 11, 12 and 13. Running intervals and changing speeds has become ingrained in me so if I run for even a half-mile at one speed I feel like I'm not doing it right.
Somewhere around the 4-mile mark, I decided to keep the speed at 7.0. I started slowly, at a 6.0, and then increased my speed to 6.5 near the mile mark, 6.8 shortly after that and a 7.3 for the third mile. I had intended to go down to a 6.5 for mile 4, up to 7.3-7.7 for mile 5 and finish off with 6.8 for mile 6. Instead, at mile 4 I wanted to stay at a 7.0. I think that's the pace I'm most comfortable at right now.
I realized that I needed to get to 6.2, not just 6.0, so I had it in my mind that I needed to get over six miles. I felt the twinge from inside, the seven-mile itch you can call it, asking me to run that seventh mile. I was debating whether or not to go through with it when I asked myself "Come on, how often are you here?" By here, I meant not the gym but rather the distance. "Here" was in the sixth mile of a six-mile run but, more importantly, I felt good about myself. My heart rate was where it needed to be, my mental makeup was also fine even though my iPod gave out at about the 17-minute mark and I wasn't in a hurry to leave the gym.
I ended up completing seven miles in about 62:42 or so. Incidentally, I crossed 6.2 miles - or the finish line of my 10K - at 54:55.
Distance runs like these are necessary. Even if you don't intend to run them.