Adam Culp Endurance Training Marathon Training Running training

Oops, I did it again!

It seems I have once again increased my fitness level, and with that comes a new workout pace, race pace, and tempo pace…UUgh!

confusionHi, Adam Culp the Crazy Floridian here.  Well, it happened again.  I’m sure I am not the only one to experience this, and I hope I am doing the right thing, only time will tell.  I am talking about those moments when we realize our fitness has increased enough that we now have a new level to operate at.  Isn’t it funny how it kinda sneaks up on you? I mean, think about it.  One day your out doing a workout, just running along and minding your own business, when suddenly you look down at your HRM/GPS watch and realize “WOW, am I running fast.  I should really slow down.  No wait, I feel great!  Why slow down, this is comfortable!“.

This is what I have experienced on each run for the past week, and today I didn’t fight it.  Instead I simply let my body run at whatever speed it wanted to, which was much faster than my normal workouts before.  Today I ran at an 8:40/mile pace, and it was completely comfortable. (5 miles for those who are wondering)

Now I know what your thinking…but it is not true.  I wasn’t pushing at all, I wasn’t out of breath at all, and I had lots of reserve left.  In fact I could have comfortably carried on a casual conversation at this pace.

In the past when this happens (and after the initial shock wears off, as well as the “YES!” factor) I have simply adjusted my paces to accommodate and continued training at the new pace.  However, at the moment I am a little concerned.  How fast is too fast for training?  At what point (if it exists) do I simply stick to “the plan” and not increase my speed during workouts? (Does such a point exist?)

I am relatively new at this, so I really do not have the answers. (I only have 2 marathons and one 50 mile ultra behind me so far.)

I mean…sure it is nice to hit a new level of fitness, and feel the little boost that comes from that.  But truthfully, doing 8:40/mile for a normal workout runs seems INSANE! (But I’m lovin’ it!)  I felt this way when I increased from 10:30, 10:00, 9:45, and 9:30, and now here I go again.

So blog-land, let me know your thoughts on the subject.  When do you know it is time to increase the intensity of your workouts? (Or do you just remain the same?)


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8 replies on “Oops, I did it again!”

Hi Adam,
That is awesome news!! Looking down at the garmin when you feel totally fine and realize that you are kicking some big time butt!! I just wish that it happened to me more:) You have already done an ultra…that is impressive:) Happy Wednesday!

Hey Adam…
You ARE getting speedier!! I learned you have about a 10-yr window to keep gaining in strength and speed, so it’s time to pick up the pace! Just be sure to slow the recovery runs down and get a tempo and interval run in each week and you’re gonna be smoking in S.F.! (Holler if you wanna get more specific on the plan I sent awhile ago 🙂 ).


There is a great book by Matt Fitzgerald “Brain Training for Runners” that sets training zones on pace breakthroughs like the one you are experiencing. Take a look – I think you’ll find it interesting.

Even without the science around it, congrats! It definitely shows your fitness and ability are improving. What once was hard is now easy.

Congrats on “the jump” Not much in the way of advice here. I have made great progress, but mine has been from years and years of running, babysteps, here and there.

One idea – if you do shorter races, 5ks, 10ks – race some of those, and then use Mcmillians Running Calculator as a guide for training paces, etc.

I have experienced what you describe, and have wondered about it, also. I think a lot of different things are reflected in your pace on a daily basis. Energy level, mood, how much fatigue you’re carrying, etc. For me, “base pace” is 9:15 – 10:00, and I’m all over the place within that range. Personally, I only consider changing that pace level if my races suggest that I have actually gotten enough faster to justify it. I agree with the Rockstar- Matt’s book is fantastic and he provides a great section on how todetermine your target pace level-which will change as you get fitter. Worth the read. McMillan’s online running calculator is also a good tool to see where your paces for various types of runs should be.

Enjoy feeling speedy!

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