The distance today was only 3 miles, and I finished up at ~10:30 pace. It's so hard to control your speed! I naturally run around a 9:30 min mile lately, so that is what feels "slow/easy" to me. When I push myself, I'm sure I get into the 8's, and trying to go at 11 feels practically like a walk! Now, here's a good thing about this... I used to run an 11 minute mile and that was my normal pace! So I've definitely gotten more in shape over the last 5 years (I did my first marathon 5 years ago). Woo hoo P90X and INSANITY! I truly attribute it to those programs.
The other thing that I've noticed is that running takes a tremendous amount of core strength. I remember from my first marathon that my lower back was really sore in the beginning of training because my core was just to weak to handle all the long distance running. Guess what!?!? It happened again! I think I was slacking on the ab and lower back work! I've added this little cycle a few days a week and it's really helped me to eliminate back pain:
Crunches with Legs in the Air
Lower Back Leg/Arm Extensions
That last one is the exercise where you start on all fours, and you extend your left arm and right leg, then crunch them together and repeat. Then of course you switch to the other side. Much harder than it looks or sounds!
Enjoy your workouts! Have a healthy Monday!