This week's pace run was a total fail -- and I could have prevented it.
I had 7 miles on the schedule with 4 miles at half-marathon pace (9:09). I have done this workout twice before, and I have hit the paces. But last night was different because it was still 90 degrees or so when we started running. I was pretty well-hydrated and I had water with me. I warmed up and headed into the pace miles, and immediately I knew it was going to be a struggle (like it's easy any other time!).
Mile 1 clocked in at 9:12. As I started the second mile, I started thinking I should turn around at the 3-mile mark and just do 3 miles at "pace" (I was fine with pace being relative last night). Aaron and our friend were ahead of me, and I was a little worried that they might worry if they didn't see me on the way back. So I trudged on to the turnaround. Mile 2 was 9:34.
At the turnaround I came up with another idea: Do a quarter-mile recovery jog and then do the last two pace miles. After mile 3 (9:14), however, that seemed stupid, so I decided do another quarter-mile recovery jog and THEN do the fourth mile. After that quarter-mile, though, I was DONE. I jogged it in.
On the plus side, 7 miles is still an accomplishment. And in hindsight, I should have altered my plan for last night's run.
Best option: Switch last night's pace run with tonight's easy run because the weather will be cooler tonight.
Better option: Adjust the pace for the pace miles since it was so hot. There are resources online about how much you should adjust pace based on the heat, but I ignored those. Doing those four miles progressively faster, but starting at, say, 9:30 pace, would have been a better option. (Aha! This calculator at Runner's Connect says I should have done the miles at 9:34 last night. I really should have checked that before going out.)
Okay option: Skip the group run and move the workout to the treadmill. That option SUCKS because that would have been a huge struggle for me.
In the end, one failed workout isn't going to make or break Parkersburg or Columbus. I can still come in under 2 in Columbus and still have a good, confidence-building race in Parkersburg. I am not beating myself up about it, and I am resisting the urge to try again tonight. I have another pace run next week (5 miles at pace!), and I will nail that one.