This week is taper week for me (not that I was racking up many miles during the week to begin with) but I am also trying to stay in line with my mileage challenge at work and log 75 miles for the month. Although I usually run 4:1 intervals (and that's the gameplan for Sunday), I want to work on my endurance and run longer. So yesterday my running buddy and I set out after work. She asks - "so what are we running today" (because it's her SLLLOOOOWWWW run day with me - LOL). I ask that we simply do 4 miles slowly and let's see how far I go before I feel like a break. She was awesome with her constant reminders to me to slow down (I am a jack rabbit starter) and those reminders were so helpful.
The weather was perfect yesterday evening. Cool and low humidity. It's finally running weather in Houston (hopefully it will stick). We took a new route along the bayou that included small inclines (Houston doesn't have hills). I concentrated on running a mile before my walk break vs running time and that worked very well. I was so elated when we hit the 3 mile mark because I found that I was able to keep my pace slow at the start, complete a mile, walk approx .25-mile and then hit another mile.
Then she did it to me. We were heading to the water fountain and she says - "ok, I'm going to run". Now, I know her pace is much faster than mine (her 5K pace is about 24min, my PR was 36 min back in July '11). She takes off! I tried to keep up and noticed that my pace topped off at 6.3 mph! I can't maintain that at the moment, but it's definitely something to shoot for. So I see some sprint intervals in my future.
We finished with a half-mile walk to cool down. When it was all said and calculated, I logged 4.58 miles in 1 hour yesterday, averaged a pace of 13 min/mile, which is my comfy pace, and fewer walk breaks than my regular interval runs.
How do you taper? How do you work towards increasing your endurance and speed?