Something odd is happening to my running. For the first time in a long time, it's not something to moan about either.... I seem to be getting faster. Not just faster in the sense that I'm coming back to my old form after a long spell of struggling with injuries, but actually faster. I running as consistently fast now as I think I ever have.
I'll give you an example: last Friday, I nipped out of work at lunchtime to do a quick run. I was tired because I'd been running the night before, and although this was supposed to be my day off, I'd promised my running buddy that I'd go out with her. As it happened, she wasn't able to make it, but I'm an idiot, so I went anyway. It was a nice day, but I set out into a considerable headwind, and the whole 3-odd miles felt like a bit of a slog. Nice enough, but not quick... and then I looked at the stats. I ran the whole 3.35 miles in a little over 26 minutes at a pace of 7.53 mins/mile. I think the fastest pace I have ever run over any distance is 7.59 mins/mile, and that was about four years ago and something of a struggle (I remember it well!). This one didn't even feel that fast, but I ran that route about three minutes faster than I ever have before.
It wasn't a one-off, either. Every single run I have done in the last couple of weeks, including a couple of 7/8 milers, I've been averaging something like 8.15 mins/mile, regularly dipping under 8 minute/mile pace. I'm definitely getting quicker.
It might be something to do with my new trainers - with the much lower heel. Apparently, they encourage a mid-foot strike, which takes less energy and allows a higher cadence than heel striking. Maybe that's made all of the difference. Maybe it's made no difference at all. It might be because I've been getting more early nights (which, now I think of it, might be caused by all this running). Whatever. All I know is that I running further than I have in a year and faster than I maybe ever have. Whatever is the cause, I'll take it.
At the start of the year, I set myself the seemingly unattainable task of running 600 miles over the course of 2014. I managed around 400 last year, and even in a good year that seemed like a lot. Well, there's a lot of year to go, but before we've even got to the end of February, I've tracked 115 miles.... I might be able to do this thing!
Well. Just because. Do I need another reason?