Wednesday, September 27, 2006

Trying to find my Groove

This morning I tried to do a smooth pace of around 12 min/mile. I thought I had it on the first mile but came in way under 12 min. Slowing down a bit I couldn't find something that fealt good and when I saw how far off I was, I gave up and did a cool down walk on the last mile. Funny thing was that my cool off pace was faster than when I started racewalking a few weeks ago (14 min/mile).

Mile 1 - 11:40 * New PR
Mile 2 - 12:24
Mile 3 - 13:56
Average Pace - 12:40/mile

So what is The Groove? Well, it seems that once I get into a balance between the right pace, technique and mental state, it doesn't feel like I'm walking. It feels like running, but not really. Hard to explain it but maybe it would make sense if it can be compared to a boat just plying through the water and one planing over the water. All of a sudden the drag on the hull diminishes and the boat is moving much faster using the same amount of power. Try walking fast, not race walking just regular walking, then switch from a fast walk to a slow jog. It feels more comfortable, you're using less energy yet you're going faster. That's what it feels like when I hit the racewalking Groove. Of course right now I'm doing the equivalent of a slow jog and haven't moved into a full run pace, but my slow jog is pretty much the same feel and speed as what I'm hitting now when racewalking. The difference is that when I run long distances I take walking breaks and when racewalking it isn't quite so obvious--but I know when I fall out of my Groove.

Now here's something to ponder. When I was running I took walk breaks to recover. There was no way to I could run a full three miles, much less a marathon, without those walking breaks at the beginning of my training. Looking at the interval training I did earlier in the week, the average pace was pretty good even though much of the time I was walking relatively slow. Back to when I was running, eventually I could run a full 6 miles after extending my run intervals and diminishing the walking intervals. Maybe that's what I should do with racewalking--speed and recover intervals? Or maybe I need to find the right pace where I can go at a speed where recovery walks aren't necessary?