Speed Work

Dave and I started a new running program today. (Thank you, Runner’s World.) It’s a 5-week plan designed to help new runners improve their speed. We’ve put 10k training on hold for the summer to concentrate on getting comfortable with the 5k distance and to save the hour-long runs for when the weather is cooler, but we didn’t want to keep doing the same 3-mile loop … we want progress! Hence the speed training.

Our assignment today:
4 X 400m intervals – run at 30-60 seconds faster than typical 1-mile pace

The path around the perimeter of a park in our neighborhood is a 500m loop, so we used that dirt trail for our training, instead of the unforgiving blacktop of the street. Trying to verbally calculate (while walking) what our pace should be for the 500m vs. 400m and fast than usual and me vs. Dave soon became like trying to get Jim Lovell home from the moon (just watched Apollo 13 again… what a great movie!). We finally settled on 2:15 to 2:30 for me and 2:25 to 2:40 for Dave. After a minor squabble about whether or not we should run a loop to warm up (I won! We did.), the intervals began.

Doing four reps was harder than I thought it would be. By the last one, my legs were (green, watery, warm) Jello-O™. The demon did a lot of whispering (“You can stop. You can walk. You can slow down… who would know?), but I just kept pushing with my glutes and thought about turning over my feet and avoided looking at my watch ’til I’d reached the tree or the pole that was my goal for that round. My times were:

2:15 | 2:25 | 2:29 | 2:30

I’m not fond of the upward trend, but I definitely started too enthusiastically on that first one — and overall I was within my goal range, so not a bad showing for my first bout of speed work.

Man! If I could sustain that pace, I could deliver an impressive 5k time.

Some day…

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