Today I did a tempo run in my Merrells. I uploaded the workout to my Garmin before I left, so it was all programmed in: 1 mile warm up, 4 miles at 9.33 min/mile, 1 mile cool down.
My Garmin shows me an average pace for the entire run. I always run slowly at the start as it seems to take a while for my joints and feet to warm up, so by the end of the first mile, the average pace was showing around 10.20 min/mile. When the Garmin beeped to warn me to get ready for the middle 4 tempo miles, I checked my watch, still slower than 10 min/mile, so I sped up. The Garmin quickly beeped to say I was in the 9.33 min/mile zone, and then shortly after beeped again to tell me to slow down.
This seemed odd, as I didn't feel I was going much faster than at the end of my warm up mile. I didn't trust my watch. I felt I wasn't pushing hard enough, so I ignored the irritating beeps until they gave up on me, and I just kept running at a comfortably fast pace.
When I got home, my watch told me that I had done the middle 4 at 9.14 min/mile! This is significantly faster than the target pace, and makes me wonder if my form is beginning to show signs of speeding up without too much effort. So far in my barefoot/minimalist running story I have found it difficult to run anywhere near as fast as I could have in trainers. That (and the lack of structured training) have kept my pace pretty slow, though speed is not really of concern to me.
It was interesting to run today and feel like I could probably go faster than that, and maintain it, at least for a 10k if no more. I did enjoy reading an article about adding speed to your barefoot running from Barefoot Beginner which came up on my Twitter feed a few days ago, and I even had a go at copying the video drill. I thought about that whilst I was running, trying to replicate pulling up my feet from the hamstrings and keeping my ankle in line with my knee. Maybe that has something to do with it.