BLOG POST: Comparing Workouts.
Over the last five weeks I have run three tempo. The first was 2.5 miles, then 3 miles, and today I ran 4 miles. The first two were done at sub-7:00 pace. Today’s tempo run was an average of 7:14 min/mile pace. At first glance you probably expect me to be disappointed. Having my pace decrease by close to 30 seconds per mile is not the kind of progress we hope for in our running journals. However, as is almost always the case, there is much more to the story.
The first to tempo runs were done in the middle of the day during my lunch break. I was fully awake, caffeinated, and had eaten appropriately. I was ready to run and I made the most of it. Today was a completely different story. Yesterday I drove for 11 hours for a work trip. Last night I was a slave to Netflix and went to bed at midnight. This morning I woke up at 4:00 a.m. so I could be out the door by 4:30. As you might expect, trying to compare this workout to the previous two would be a fool’s errand. In my life I have been at that fool plenty of times and beaten myself up over perceived negative results. But today I can confidently say that I’m going to judge this run on its own merits.
All things considered I think this was my best tempo run yet. The effect of proper sleep on performance is well documented. The fact that I was able to push myself through discomfort and negative split the last two miles brings me great joy. I love numbers as much as anyone. I was a kid who loved collecting baseball cards and memorized every stat. But metrics without context is like a paragraph without punctuation. You might be able to derive meaning from it but the true affect is lost. This was a great run and there is nothing that Strava or my overly-critical self can say that alter that fact.