Today's run was one of my favorite workouts. It was a 10 mile run with a one mile warm up, then eight miles at (or slightly faster than) goal marathon pace (7:15), then a one mile cool down. My splits today were 8:35, 7:08, 7:02, 7:05, 7:12, 7:07, 7:03, 7:08, 6:57, 8:10, and then I did 5x100m strides. My legs feel pretty dang good, especially considering I am in the middle of an 85 mile week.
Although seeing this run on the schedule used to make me nervous, it is now one of my favorites. I know I can hit the splits fairly easily, and running chunks of marathon paced miles is a big confidence booster for me. Confidence is a good thing! (My 20 miler for Friday has four miles at 7:15 and then four miles at 7:00 at the end. THAT will be a decent workout for sure.)
I do also enjoy the challenge of track workouts and long runs. There is nothing like the feeling of finishing the last interval of a tough track workout or finally slowing to walk at the end of a long run. Victory! :) In my quest to continue to improve, I do look forward to the runs that scare me a little bit... the ones that I see on the schedule and get a little nervous about... the ones that leave me wondering if I can "hit" all the splits and run the workout as I am supposed to... the ones that I know are going to hurt a little more than most. Those are the runs that I think make the most improvement physically and mentally, and they are the most fun to celebrate when I am done. :)
Of course the easy/recovery runs can be enjoyable too. My favorite easy/recovery runs are the ones I get to run with Josh, Jenny, or the running club. Being able to chat away with people makes the miles go by quickly and I think it's fun to talk to someone while I am running easy. Jenny and I have started running up the canyon across the street again these last two weeks. It is dirt roads and gorgeous scenery, and the monster hills make you not even care about your pace going up/in, and it is all sorts of fun to run out (downhill!) of the canyon. Yesterday we made it four miles up and into the canyon before we hit a place where a snow avalanche from the winter was still blocking the road and we had to turn around. It takes that much snow a LONG time to melt.
I know it is the variety of different runs that lead to improvement as a runner and I know every run has a purpose, so I do try to embrace and enjoy whatever run I have on any given day.
I have to say though that I am not much of a trail runner. I enjoy the canyon runs with Jenny, but trail running (as uncool as this probably makes me to admit) just isn't my favorite. I am a road runner. I love running on the roads. I love running fast on the roads. I love road racing. The trails are fun to mix it up once and awhile, but road running and racing is what I really love.
How about you? What are your favorite types of training runs? Are there any that you dread? Do you love running the roads or are you a trail runner at heart?