It seems that long layoffs from running will negatively impact your speed. The less you run, the slower you are.
Take it from me. Just a few years ago, my half marathon pace was under eight minutes per mile. That same year, 2010, my marathon pace was just over nine minutes per mile. Yesterday, during an easy three-mile run, my average pace was 11 and a half minutes per mile, and I took two walk breaks.
Not that I'm too worried about this decline. My race paces in 2010 were a high-water mark in my running life. As my time in the 30-34 age group winds to a close in the next year and a half, perhaps it's time to accept reality. The march of time speeds on, as my speed evaporates into the annals of history.
Oh, come on, now. Let's stop being dramatic. There's plenty of time to get fast (relatively) again.
But here's a real reality: I need to get fast slowly. My back-to-back runs last week put a serious hurtin' on me. I'm slow, out of shape and a heavier than I'd like. I can't change these things overnight. (No duh, said the Internet.)
Instead of making long-term goals for the year, my plan is to stick to more immediate aspirations. Like this: three runs per week, 30 minutes each. My goal is see if I can increase speed and distance within these short bursts and get my endurance back without injuring myself.
Who wants to take bets on how long it will take me to get below a 10-minute mile pace?