Wednesday, June 20, 2012

My second track workout: On my way to speedy

Week 2 of Track Time is in the books, and - perversely - I like it.

I really do!

What I like about it, I don't know, because it is harder than hell.  Take yesterday for example....With predicted highs at just over 90 degrees, and a sure temp in the 80s, I wasn't sure I would even make it through the workout.  I mean, I don't even like doing a slow run in those temps.  However, despite that and the worry that my hamstring and left glute might still be a bit draggy, I forced myself into the car to go.

Getting there, doing the warm ups was sort of a joke, since we were all mighty warm as it was.  However, we got out there and did our 50 yards each of butt kickers, high skips, long skips, accelerations, and striders.  (It's super fun finally getting to learn what all these fancy, elite-sounding terms mean!)  Then it was time to get serious.

On the schedule for yesterday was 3 x 4x400s.  Say what?  I felt like the coach was talking in code.  Luckily, it wasn't a secret one, and it was soon broken for me.  What that meant was that we were going to shoot for three sets of four reps of 400-meter runs.  Between each rep we were allowed to choose how we would recover.  It was recommended we take no more than 200-400 meters at a slow jog or walk, depending on how we felt.  Between the sets, we were encouraged to take 3-5 minutes of recovery, either walking or jogging.

We were split into three groups according to our projected time per 400, based on our time trial the previous week.  I was in the second group and was supposed to hit each 400 between 2:00 and 2:07.

So, here's the breakdown of how it went:

Set 1 Set 2 Set 3
1:51 2:00 1:59
1:55 1:58 1:50
1:59 1:58
1:54 1:57

I obviously had a hard time hitting my parameters.  While I would like to think that that just means that I am super studly, I think it really means that I need to shorten up my recovery between reps.  I was walking out 200 meters between each - as were most others - in deference to the heat and the gasping for air I was doing.  So, next time I might try to slow jog between reps or walk for a shorter time.  We'll see.

Obviously we ran out of time before we could get in the last two reps.  Well, the speedy group managed 12, and maybe some others in my group.  I managed nine with everyone else, and then decided to do one more on my own.  I just didn't like the idea of ending up on nine - not a round enough number for me.

I was pleasantly surprised that my body held out fine.  After warming up and getting the muscles loose, I only ever noticed a couple of mild twinges in the hip area.  This morning, things seem okay too.  I won't make the mistake of running with the morning group again this a.m.  Well, that is less by design than simply the fact that childcare via the GPs is not available.  Plus, I do have the Wine Run this evening.  Yay! More on that tomorrow.

So, my second session of speed work is done, and I have to say I thought last week was a fluke, but no, I really do enjoy it..... I think I like the playfulness of it, the fact that you are running more "all out" like a kid would but in a controlled fashion.  I like going fast.  And, it's nice to see that on the super short sprints I CAN go fast.  I just cannot sustain it.  Maybe in the weeks to come I will learn to articulate better what I like about speed work....or I will learn to hate it.  Either way, it should make for a good story.

In the meantime, Happy Running!

Do you do speed work?  How do you go about it? 
What's your idea of great fun on a balmy hot summer evening?


  1. Oh I really want to try drills/strides, etc.! My running coach was just e-mailing me about them this week but I have no idea what it all means so I'm going to have to wait for a group running session to try it out :)

    1. I am the type who needs to be spoon-fed information, so doing these with a group has been extremely helpful. Definitely do them if you get the chance. I am sure at some point I will learn the real reason why all the drills are useful; in the meantime, they are just an outlet for any nervous humor. That is to say, it's nice to start out our "serious" speed work with something that makes some of us (me) feel slightly ridiculous. :) Lightens everything up a bit, you know? :)

  2. I am planning to do some speed work this summer. It's so tough though which is probably why I've been avoiding it.

    1. I really had a hard time working this into my schedule - it took me two years! But I am glad I did. I am finding I really enjoy the variety of the workouts (of course, this being week 2, I may be setting myself up for disappointment on that one) and the playfulness of it all. I am enjoying it! Now, I am just curious to see if it actually works and I become a faster runner because of it.

  3. The part that I love the most is that they decoded track workouts for you! I need a class just for that. I tried Yassos 800s today, and it took me ten minutes just to google it and figure out how to do it. Even then it probably wasn't totally right, but it was fun! I like mixing it up with the speed. It makes it more interesting to change gears several times mid-workout.