13.1 Mile Treadmill Personal Best & Altra Torins

YES I BROKE 1:40:00 for a Half Marathon Distance!!!!!

Today is long run day and usually I run from home to TheWife’s Work, but today the forecast was for freezing rain, snow, freezing rain and more snow, at the time I planned to be out running. Plus the temps were right around 31 degrees F.

So I decided to do a treadmill run.

Once I got to the gym, I decided to wear, the Altra Torin’s that I got in last night. My plan called for 10 miles at a 7:40 pace and I had thought about wearing something else, but the more I thought about it, I really wanted to wear the Torin’s. I had worn them for a 2.0 mile walk this morning and they had been very comfortable. So I decided to wear them and if they bothered I could stop and wear the other shoes.

Here is today’s workout:


  • 10.0 miles @ 7.8  mph (approx 8:41 pace)

The Torin’s were doing great, they feel much lighter than the 9.8 ounces they are listed for and the cushioning is exactly what I was looking for.

When I got to 6.25 miles, the problems I have been having with my socks was really bother me, so I stopped long enough to take my sock off and got back to it.

Once I took the sock off, my right foot felt a LOT better. So I have to figure out my sock issue real soon.

Once I got to about 9.0 miles, my right heel started to bother me a little from when I when went sockless on Wednesday. I could tell that I had re-opened the blister and the shoe was wearing on the sore that was already there.

I don’t blame this on the Torin’s – I think that most any shoe would have done this if I had gone sockless in them after already having a blister there. When I got done, the back of my right heel was pretty bloody, but I finished the run :-).

  • 1.25 mile @ 8.0 mph
  • 0.25 mile @ 8.1 mph
  • 0.25 mile @ 8.2 mph
  • 0.25 mile @ 8.3 mph – 12.0 miles
  • 0.25 mile @ 8.5 mph
  • 0.25 mile @ 8.6 mph
  • 0.25 mile @ 8.7 mph
  • 0.15 mile @ 8.8 mph
  • 0.10 mile @ 8.9 mph – 13.0 miles
  • 0.10 mile @ 9.0 mph

13.1 miles / total time 1:39:43

This is a new Half Marathon personal best and although it is not an official PR time, since it was done on a treadmill, I am still very happy with the results and how I felt during the run and now about 5 hours later. The best part was that this was not an all-out effort, I still felt as though I had a lot left.

It was a huge confidence builder, being able to continue to increase the pace over that last 5K and to push through the blister issue was very encouraging and showed me that I can maintain this kind of pace, even when I needed to work through some discomfort.

The best part was that the Torin’s impressed me a LOT! The blister issue was not the Torin’s issue, it was pre-existing and had been rubbed raw on Wednesday. My heel was doing fine until I had to take my sock off, so I don’t blame them at all for the bloody heel.

Altra Torin’s

They felt very light, I was able to maintain a great pace for a long time and I LOVED the way they felt while I was running in them, especially when I started to increase the pace – even though I was getting tired. A couple of times I could feel myself heel striking and the Torin’s protected me from myself, which is what I have been looking for.

Overall, a great run and an the longest run I have EVER done in a new pair of running shoes. I have a feeling that the Torin’s are going to be a very interesting shoe that I really want to get a few more runs in, before I go spouting about how great they are.

However, it will be hard act to follow after this kind of run for a first run in a par of new shoes.

No disclosure is necessary with these shoes, they are mine.

You Really Don’t Need A Track for Speedwork

Augusta Rail Trail

Do you REALLY need a track to have GREAT speedwork session.


Of course you don’t.

There are plenty of other options like roads and trails where we can do fartleks, hills, tempo runs, etc., but the one thing missing is the accurate feedback of how far you have gone. Sure you can use your GPS device, telephone poles or other landmarks, but it just isn’t the same as seeing and “knowing” that the end of this lap/interval is coming right up and how far you have gone.

Running on a track is great once in a while by yourself. Hell it can even be fun if you have a group/someone else to to run with while you are doing your speedwork on a track. However, after a while I really don’t find it all that enjoyable to run around in circles around a track, when it is just me and my watch most of the time.

Colby College Track, Waterville, ME

Most tracks are owned by the local school or college, so you are at the mercy of their schedule. Also at most tracks we are discouraged from using the inside lane (to minimize wear), have to avoid other walkers/runners (who want the inner lanes too and don’t observe or know about track etiquette – slower to the outside).

Plus running in circles around a flat track really doesn’t emulate where I race most often – the roads. So going to the track to do speed work is not always the panacea that some make it out to be.

What got me to thinking about this?

Yesterday while doing my long tempo run, I did it on the Augusta Rail Trail and loved it.

Now I have run and walked on the Rail Trail many times before. So I was familiar with it and how things were setup. However, one thing that I had never really thought about was how the trail has markers every quarter mile from Augusta to Gardner (except for the section through Hallowell), which is very close to 6.0 miles of marked and tarred trail.

This means I can do most of my speedwork right on the Augusta Rail Trail and have a very accurate idea my splits.


  • Closer than nearest track.
  • It is fairly flat, with just a few bumps
  • Marked every quarter mile
  • More realistic training environment for road racing and is the course for my half marathon in June
  • Is available in the winter – but is cold and can be icy
  • Is publicly accessible and unless there is an event going on (usually a road race) have access
  • View is nicer along the Kennebec River, than at most tracks.


  • Still have to drive there – 9 miles from house.
  • Have to do in “off” peak hours, otherwise a lot of people, dogs and bikes (but this mimics running in a race where you have pass runners and other obstacles)
  • Weather conditions are more of a factor
  • Wouldn’t want to do barefoot strides along the sides (too many dogs and owners who don’t clean up after them)

The more I thought about it, the Augusta Rail Trail really is a perfect setup for doing most of my speed work.

I know that when I thought about speedwork, it automatically meant going to the track. Because of this way of thinking, I didn’t look at  or for other alternatives, that in reality might be as good or better than running circles around a track, just so I could get accurate splits.

Finally figuring out that speedwork is more than going to the track or treadmill, means that I don’t have to go to the track if I don’t want to. Especially when I have a place that provides me more realistic training for the style of racing that I do most – road running.

Does this mean that I will stop going to the track completely? No.

The Augusta Rail Trail gives me an option that I didn’t think of before, but there will be times that I will still want to go to the track and remember some of my “glory” days or have some fun with other runners, who like to go fast in circles. ;-).

Do you have someplace around you that is similar, that you could use to do your speedwork, instead of “having” to use a track?