Last year I posted an April Fool's joke saying that I was doing the Boston Marathon. This year, it's actually true (that is, I am doing it in April 2011 if all continues to go well and they don't retroactively change the qualifying standards). I am hoping that by this time next year I don't consider those plans a bad April Fool's joke! :)
Other April Fool's jokes on me... the weather has decided to play one by being relatively nice (even sunbreaks) and dry today, a non-running day, but turning to stormy wind and rain tomorrow. When I have nine marathon-pace miles on the schedule (which means about 10-12 miles total, most likely). I'll do the distance, but if I can't sustain the pace I'll write it off thanks to the 18 marathon-pace miles from last weekend, which should be enough to cover both last week and this. Don'tcha think?
Yesterday I finished off the month of March with speedwork. I started out with about three and a half miles warm-up (my Garmin total was more but I think the satellites were playing an early April Fool's joke as they gave me credit for more than 1.6 miles in a stretch that has never been more than 1.52 miles).
Then to the track. On schedule: six 800's (or half miles, for me). I try to do them at 10K pace (or better), and also like to think of them as a stab at Yasso 800's. My training schedule only goes up to 8 x 800 (doing them every third week). Bart Yasso works up to ten, increasing by one every week. I don't want to do them every week, but if I tweaked my schedule* to almost every other week, I wonder if I could get to ten (at least ten days before the marathon as recommended, of course)....
Anyhow, yesterday's half-mile repeats were pretty successful for me. I started out a little slower than I would like, picked up to a respectable pace, and finished blazingly fast (for me) on the final one. I jogged a quarter of a mile in between each and forced myself to stick with that (often I do a shorter recovery to save time). (Time is something to keep in mind as the number of repeats increase, obviously—ten 800's with a quarter mile recovery would eat up 7.25 miles, not including warm-up and final recovery!)
1 - .49 at 4:01 (8:11 pace)
2 - .50 at 3:53 (7:56 pace)
3 - .50 at 3:55 (7:53 pace)
4 - .50 at 3:54 (7:53 pace)
5 - .49 at 3:56 (7:58 pace)
6 - .50 at 3:46 (7:34 pace)
For the last one I decided to turn off my iPod. Yes, I am sure no "serious runner" would ever do track repeats with music but I always do. (Need it be said? Not a "serious runner.") But you know how sometimes in the car with the radio, or at home with the TV, you turn it off and suddenly there is blessed silence? I decided to dispense with the noise and see how that affected my speed running (for a short distance).
Now, my final repeat is almost always faster (probably because I am so happy to be finishing), so this is certainly not a scientific test. When I was running I couldn't really tell whether I was running faster or slower than before. I could feel the effort, which made it seem slower in a way. I could also hear myself breathing (out)...one breath (out) for every four running step. One, two, three, four, breathe. (Apparently the breathing in happens on its own.)
But considering the relative pace of my other five laps (and they were all fairly consistent), the last one was quite significantly faster. 5K pace rather than 10K, really. Interesting.
*Is it weird that I get a little rush at the idea of working on my training schedule? Not executing it, mind you, just writing things in the little boxes....