Beefs and intervals on the track

Making great strides

Today’s run (track): 3 mile run, plus 8 X 200

Although my pace throughout last Sunday’s Bethpage run was s-l-o-w, I was encouraged to see my speed improve once I started running with SIOR. Unfortunately, my speed dropped again once she who was out running brought her pace back to target. Left to pace myself, I’d defaulted to a lower performance level.

My orthopedist told me that my ruptured disc won’t return to its prior state on its own and he warned me of pushing my speed too hard. I’ve been very careful to avoid circumstances that would aggravate my lower back and my recovery has been excellent. The near trip I experienced during a trail run last weekend didn’t cause a relapse, so I decided it was safe to push the envelope a bit this weekend.

My morning schedule was tight so I needed to get out for an early, fast workout. When I arrived at the track there was the usual mix of people — mostly walkers and others who were alternating between running and walking. I had no plan, other than to run intervals that I would start after some warm up laps. I ran clockwise, on the inside (right) lane, to help counter-balance my usual running position on the left side of the road.

GPS inaccuracy: I swear I stayed on the track the entire time

After I’d completed my second lap, I noticed a guy wearing a singlet on the track about 100 meters in front of me. He looked like he was about to start his run, but pulled up short behind a man who had been walking laps. Once I reached them, I heard the runner arguing about the walker’s rudeness. In the seconds that I passed them, inferred that the walker had bumped into the other guy and failed to apologize.

I continued on my way but noticed that they were still in a heated conversation when I circled back toward where they were standing. I was prepared to give them the, “C’mon guys, let it go” speech but they stopped on their own before I reached them. I continued rounding the track until I’d completed twelve laps and saw that the singlet guy had started running 200’s. Instead of taking a short rest or running a slow jog before resuming, he slowly walked 200 meters to the next starting spot and rested a few minutes before resuming. I ended up doing two 200’s for every one that he did.

My feeling of superiority was quickly dashed. A young woman, who was also running strides, overtook and passed me like I was walking. At that moment, I was running a 7:15 pace. No matter how fast you run, there’s always someone faster. In my case, that’s usually everyone else.

I’m pleased that I got in some speed work today. I haven’t checked Garmin Connect, but I think that was my first interval session in 2015. It was a pleasure to see the histogram on Connect that showed my cadence firmly in the green zone throughout most of the workout and my average stride length ten percent longer than usual. Mostly, it was great to see a mile split in the low 8 minute range for a change.

Stepping it up for race day

Getting there
Flower power

If you use a Fitbit, then you know that the currency is steps. It also measures distance traveled, staircases climbed, calories burned and “energy” (expressed in the form of a flower). But between me and my wife, steps are a shorthand for daily activity. My daily goal is 10M steps, with typical variance of 2,500 steps. On days when I do a long run, that number can go in the 20M range.

Without a run on the schedule, I was facing a big challenge towards reaching my daily goal. By noon, my total was still under 2,000 and I wasn’t happy with that. I decided to pick up some steps by walking around the pool area and the yard. It took little time to reach the 5M mark. At that point, I decided to do a series of short strides. Although I ran these briskly, they were not intervals. But it was enough to work up a sweat, so my next stop was to join my kids in the pool.

Through all that, I passed 7,000 steps and I’m almost to eight by now. I think I achieved a good balance between motion and rest today. It’s about twelve hours to the start of the Dirty Sock. I hope today’s activities will help, and not hurt, my performance tomorrow.

Speed work, if you can call it that

Running in circles makes me lose my tempo

Today’s run (track): 3.1 mile tempo, plus 5 x 100m – total: 3.4 miles

This morning I headed to the local track to run intervals. I was not looking forward to the workout, but if I wanted to improve my speed, I needed to do my homework. Conditions were good, 66° with indirect sun, so I had little excuse to take it easy. I decided to start with a few warm up laps before taking on intervals. I ended up doing a three mile tempo run, followed by 5 x 100 meter strides, run two minutes/mile faster than 10K race pace.

I was concerned that I’d be dealing with some leg fatigue after yesterday’s run. Once I got going, I became confident that I’d be okay, although I was frustrated with my limited ability to hit my targeted pace. By the second mile, I was running faster. There were others on the track during the time I was there, but it never got crowded. I appreciated having the first lane to myself, with no need to shift around any walkers or slower runners.

Observations: 

1. I’m still running pretty slow these days. My goal was to break 27 minutes, but I didn’t succeed. However, I did run negative splits, with a 9% improvement between miles 1 and 3.

2. I was able to meet my speed target on the intervals. While these runs felt faster than the 6:54 average I recorded, the last time that I did speed work, I averaged under 6:30. Like I said, I’m still slow.

Overall, I’m pleased with this weekend’s training. With a couple of tough workouts coming up this week, I feel like I’m setting up well for the competition on the 18th.