Actually, the pace thing could make for an interesting discussion. Without getting into all the gory details, three months ago, I would have to struggle to do 6 miles at even close to 7:00 pace. I let my paces slide and built up my volume relatively quickly with a lot of running at 7:30 pace, give or take, and with no fear of 8:00 pace. All of a sudden, in the past week or so, I’ve found my paces shooting up. Last week, I had a lot of runs in the 6:50 range and I now just completed an 8 miler at about 6:35 pace. The best part is that it felt quite comfortable, even in today’s wind. I still have no trouble with 7:30 or 8:00 pace if that’s the right pace for a specific run but my comfortable cruising speed seems to be around that 6:50 range at the moment.
Had I not been willing to back off my pace quite a bit back in January, I would probably still be struggling to reach 80-90 mpw and struggling to hold 7:00 pace. However, because I let the pace fall off as I built the volume, I’m now running 2-3 times the volume I was a few months ago and doing it at paces I couldn’t hold at that time.