I was happier living in ignorance. My blissfully ignorant running career is over and I owe my descent into reality to Coach and Author Jack Daniels. I used to have whimsical goals based on the occassional outstanding workout. Now I am presented with hard facts in the form of merciless pace tables.
These pace tables relate race history to workout pace. There are also predictive tables showing potential race times. The combination of these tables form walls on either side of me that provide a austere and unforgiving corridor down which I must travel to achieve certain goals. I'm sure with more experience working in the "T", "I", "E", "M", "R", "L" pace zones as prescribed will give me more perspective and make me a better runner. But for now it seems like that corridor is awfully dark and a little scary.
I estimated my VDOT value as 56 based on past race times. After the last three weeks of workouts I am wondering if I shouldn't drop down to the pace associated with a value of 55. Melissa S, my training partner, insists that I am really a "56" and gave me a littany of excuses as to why I should persist at the faster pace. I will honestly have to review the heart rate data from today's workout to determine if I was performing at or below the target zone.
Fatigue is defninitely a factor and as I've known for some time I'll have to monitor the amount of sleep I get more carefully. I need to monitor my training better in general. Automated recording of workout data and upload to computer is great for just that, recording, not for analysis. I'll see what I can come up with.