Thursday, June 25, 2009

Wednesday speed work: half-mile repeats

I know, today is Thursday; but since I spent Wednesday writing about the weekend, I'm at least a day behind on my posting!

Yesterday I had half-mile track repeats on my training schedule. Technically, of course, it's supposed to be 800s, but since I'd mapped out quarter and half mile distances on the track down the street, I am sticking with those measurements. It also makes it easy to convert my times into the equivalent for mile times!

As usual, I started with a regular run to warm up and log some mileage. I wanted to go at least four miles before starting with the track stuff. I actually did about 4½ miles by the time I got to the middle school track. My times: 10:03, 9:07 pace for .64 miles (what's up with that? running to a bathroom perhaps?), 9:30, 9:33, 9:13 (this might have included the beginning of a speed lap).

For the speed work I was supposed to do four half-mile repeats at 10K pace; my actual pace was probably closer to 5K pace. After each split I jogged about a tenth of a mile back to the starting point (with the Garmin running for distance), then walked/rested for a few moments (Garmin paused) before doing the next lap.

Here are the results (each one is a half mile):

1 - 3:52.06 (7:44 pace)
2 - 3:54.91 (7:50 pace)
3 - 3:53.87 (7:48 pace)
4 - 3:53.59 (7:48 pace)

Obviously, this is a lot faster than I planned to go (I had anticipated somewhere between 4 and 4:15 per lap), but for me I don't think that is harmful. Running fast (fast for me) is such an anomaly that I really appreciate my body's willingness to do it. That doesn't mean I expect to run an 8-minute pace in anything but a 5K, though. (I am nothing if not realistic!)

So, how did I feel during this exercise in speed? I wasn't sprinting... I wasn't running all out like I was heading for a finish line. But I was running just about as hard as I could short of sprinting. It was a little hard to imagine sustaining it for any extended length of time (although I have had the experience of running this pace and faster during a 5K). In fact, I glanced at my watch each time as I passed the quarter mile mark, and each time saw low 1:50s, which means that the second quarter mile was slightly, but not significantly slower than the first. Each time I crossed the starting line going into the second lap I wondered if I would make it all the way around, but then once I got into that second lap it seemed easier, and in fact, quite doable.

After my fourth repeat I jogged slowly (moderately) around the track before heading home. My remaining splits for the run including the repeats, in-between segments, and cool-down were 8:06, 8:13, and 9:10.

The total distance for the run was 7.65 miles, average pace 9:08 (obviously very averaged!).

I don't know if my dabbling in speed work is really doing anything, but at the very least it's making me feel good about myself, and what I am able to get my legs and body to accomplish. That in itself, I believe, is going to make me faster and more successful.

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