Since about Dec 27th, I've either been running in bitter cold w/huge gusts of wind (back in PA and NJ thru the holidays) OR torrential rain (back home in CA) that made the footing on the trails absolutely terrible - the downhills were very slick and quite scary.
Additionally, I've probably been increasing my weekly mileage a bit too quickly during the past month - so I decided to take a bit of a "down week" this week in terms of mileage by running only 4 days instead of the usual 5. Meaning, that aside from a day at the gym yesterday, I had the past two days off.
Today the sun was out, the temp was almost 60 degrees, and although the trails still had several muddy puddles - the footing was vastly improved compared to a few days ago. So for the first time in about 2 weeks I was going to be running w/ good footing, a "normal" amount of clothing, and well rested.
The plan was to do 8 miles, and w/ the conditions being good for the first time in a while, there was no doubt that the pace was going to be up in the MP zone. Being that these runs in the hills add 10-12 seconds/mile compared to running on level terrain - I figured I was in for about 7:10's on average. After hitting a nice 7:19 first mile, I started heading up the 2.3 mile stretch of the hill. When I clocked in the 2nd mile at 7:14 up about a 3% grade I knew I was in for a pretty good day. This is where the trail gets tough as the last 3/4 of a mile the grade is over 5.5%. After cruising up that 5.5% portion again at 7:14 I thought I had a shot to average under 7:00 on the day. However, I did not want to go that quickly if my HR got above the MP zone (or above 87% of my max-HR) As is typical, I wasn't able to go as quickly as I would have liked down the first mile of the trail coming back as the footing is not that good and the slope is a bit steep. By the 5th, 6th and 7th miles I was clocking in 6:35's and the HR was still under the target. The last mile is back up a hill and so as not to have my HR spike up at the end, I slowed the last mile down to 6:58.
When I was able to go back and look through the run I was really happy with the results: 6:57 average pace at a HR of 86%-max. A good effort, but I easily could have gone faster, and being that the hills do add at least 10-12 seconds/mile to your average pace as compared to flat ground - this equates to a mid-upper 6:40's run under Threshold HR. For me - this is a good run.
Tomorrow I plan to finish up w/ an easy run of only 7-8 miles. (I usually like to put in a long effort the day after a run like this - but this week the plan is to keep the mileage down a bit, so I'm going to stick with that)
Training: 8 miles @ 6:57, HR-158