After 9 days of waiting, I finally got my speed workout done this morning. While I was rather anxious about how it would go (fast is a 4 letter word after all), it turned out better than I feared. The workout was on my local high school track with a 2 mile warm-up, 3 mile repeats with 200 meter active recovery in between, and finally a 1 mile cool down. Here are my splits:
|Mile 1||Mile 2||Mile 3||Recovery||Mile 4||Recovery||Mile 5||Mile 6|
My pace targets were 10 min for the first mile, 9 minute for the second, 6:50 for the next 3 miles, and then whatever felt OK for the final mile. I had no targets for the 2 recovery segments. My 3 mile repeats were all within 8 seconds of my target, which is huge win as far as I’m concerned. Granted, all of my targets were almost picked out of a hat since I’ve never done this type of workout before, but I’m still happy with how things went. The point was to push my pace well above my comfort level. I very rarely run sub-8 minute miles and that’s usually only downhill assisted miles. Needless to say, I was uncomfortable.
Each of the mile repeats seemed to go the same way. The first quarter mile was very fast (6:35-6:40 area). I would then glance at my watch and decide I should slow down a bit. Next thing I know my average pace is up to almost 7 minutes. The final lap of each mile I would push pretty hard and end up close to my 6:50 target. I’m hoping I’ll get more consistent with my pace the more I do this workout. There’s always going to be some issues the first time you try something. It’s rare to hit a homerun the first time you swing a bat for instance. Frankly, I’m a little surprised this went as well as it did. Miles 4 and 5 were virtual carbon copies of each other with very little deterioration in my performance. At some point I might do 4 mile repeats, but that sounds like something for my next training cycle.
For my recovery segments, I walked the 200 meters. I wasn’t sure if I would walk or jog them until I finished the first fast mile and wanted to just go lie down for a minute. It didn’t take me the full 200 meters to recover, but it was fairly close. It may have taken less time after miles 4 and 5, but I don’t have any hard numbers to back this up. The nice thing about deciding to walk for my recovery is that I was able to push myself a little harder than I would have otherwise. But even though I was going pretty hard, I’m not sure if I was pushing myself hard enough. If I’m going to err, I’d rather err on running too easy a workout than too hard. I’m always afraid of getting injured and I equate speed with injury. There’s lots of other things that can get you hurt, but that’s always how I’ve thought about it.
I plan to do the same workout once per week for the next couple months. It will be interesting to see whether I get faster and if so how much faster. I’m thinking I might be able to improve by 10-15 seconds, but who knows. And if I don’t get any faster, that’s OK as well. It’s not like I need to run fast in order to run 100 miles. I just need to be more stubborn than sane.
What speed workouts do you do?