We obviously did some speed work anyway, but nothing crazy hard (4×800’s). Total 4.3 miles.
We checked with our reference about this so-called organized group workout and found that we were in the right place, so the next week we showed up there again. And once again, no one else was there, so we did 5 alternating 400’s and 200’s. Total 4.8 miles.
We thought, one more try. So this week, we confirmed with someone that the group actually meets at a different track, so we showed up there at 6:00 yesterday and big shocker…no one was there! We waited around for a little bit then did a 1/2 mile warm-up and finally a few people started trickling in. It turns out the workout started at 6:30.
Allison, who runs the workout (no pun intended!), eventually came up and introduced herself. She then immediately asked us about our 5k times. Ummm…we are thinking, why do you care about that? We just do the intervals based on what feels “hard” for that day. But we told her our times, and she starts checking her charts, etc. Then she wanted to confirm that we are “at a base of 15 miles”. Um, at one time? No, turns out, she just wants to make sure we are running roughly 15 miles a week. Ohhhh, okay…check. We got that one.
So then she tells us to do a one mile warm-up, then one mile of strides on the straights and jog the curves. A 2-mile warm-up? That is usually more than our total warm-up and cool down combined!
Now, we are not strangers to hard track workouts…afterall we have completed multiple marathon training cycles with plenty of hard and long speed sessions, but right now we are definitely not mentally and physically in that mode.
After the warm-up, Allison takes us to the side of the track for drills. Running drills? Never done them. This former softball player never ran track and we most definitely did NOT do cadence drills as part of our softball warm-ups. I managed my way through the drills…looking like a total fool, I am sure, but by the time I finished the warm-up and drills, I was already out of breath!
Next Allison tells us that we are doing 1000 m repeats and that Char and I should be between 3:55 – 4:08. Char looks at me and says, “What is our Furman 1000 pace?” I tell her 4:16. Hmmm…
Allison wanted us to do no less than 4, but to aim for 5 repeats with only 2 min. rest. We take off for the first one and although I wasn’t sure what those times translated into for a min/mile pace, I figured if we stayed around 6:30-6:40, we would be good. We started out strong in the low 6:20’s but intentionally pulled the pace back, just finishing in 4:08. Okay, not too bad. That was manageable.
Moving on to #2. It was harder, but again pretty manageable and once again we finish in 4:08. Fantastic!
Then came #3. It was everything I could do to maintain a 6:45 pace and I was dying at that. I finished around 4:11, then had to take a bathroom break. Thank goodness they were open and thank goodness there was t.p.! After a not-very-short-rest/bathroom break, I walked back over to where Allison was standing and told her I was debating a cool down or one more 1000. She encouraged me to do one more and I agreed.
It was the hardest single running-related thing I have done since the marathon. My legs burned, my lungs were on fire, I felt like I had nothing left to give! I pushed the last 200 to manage a 4:13 for the interval, but it was brutal!
After a a not-slow cool-down (8:15 min/mile) with a couple of guys that were running too, I finished the day with 6 miles total.
This is definitely a lesson in how quickly a runner (i.e. me) loses stamina when the intensity of training goes down. I have completed some sort of speed session almost every week since I recovered from the marathon, yet anything even resembling the same level of intensity as before, kicked my trash! I will give myself a little slack since the paces were faster than what I have done in the past but now it is on!
Allison says to friend her on Facebook (I need to figure out her last name!) and tell her my goals and she will make sure that she has workouts that are more specific for me in the future. A coach?! Kind of sounds like it! Definitely someone to keep me accountable for speed work and kick my booty!
I could definitely get in to this!!!