Throughout my training I have become obsessed with pace. I always had to check what my pace was and where I felt I should be if it was too slow. Every day I would start a run wondering if it would be faster than the day before. Faster, faster, faster; but with no real goal behind it. It didn't matter if I was doing it for a purpose, the pace was all that mattered. After all, to get a 3:15 marathon I have to run a 7:26 pace; a 90 minute half is a 6:51; a 18:30 5K is 5:57 and so on. Pace dictates the race and in turn dictates the training.
Or so I believed.
But I have realized that I have been doing it all wrong. My training programs have been fatally flawed from the very beginning but I never even realized it. Even when I would come down with an injury I always blamed the increase in distance as the culprit. So I would cut back on the mileage in the hopes of recovering but when I continued to get injured after the decrease I had no explanation. Because I never took what the pace I was running at into consideration. I would barely cut back on the speed.
I have finally come to realize that I was wholly focused on mileage as the only benchmark for my training instead of basing it on workload. Simply put, workload=(volume x intensity). While this is rather intuitive I had failed to take this simple concept and apply it. As my training progressed and I added mileage to my weekly workouts I was also adding an increase in speed at the same time. While in my head I was progressing in a linear fashion my workload was actually increasing exponentially. My training progress should have looked like this:
But instead it has actually looked like this:
Which explains a lot. Too much, too soon. In the future I am definitely going to take this into consideration and use what I have learned. If the mileage goes up the speed needs to stay the same, and vice-versa. Run smarter.
For now I am going to take some advice many people have given me; stop over-thinking, relax, enjoy, and run what I feel, not what I feel like I must.