Sunday, May 18, 2014

Speed work at the track

After reevaluating my goals last week, I made some changes to my running plan, and I am really liking it! Like I said, I just have to get through the Heartbreak Hill Half in June, and then I plan to train for a sub-24:00 5K. So I'm still going to be doing the long runs until then (June 5th is when I leave for Boston), but for the rest of the week, I'm cutting back on the mileage and reducing my run days to five instead of six. I'm basically just starting the advanced 5K training, only my long runs will be 10-14 miles for a few more weeks.

One of the things I've really liked about doing short runs (3 miles!) is that I can get it done before breakfast. I've always liked running before eating, but ever since I started marathon training last year, my runs have all been about an hour or more long. By the time I get the kids on the bus, run, come home and shower, it's nearly lunchtime. So I started eating breakfast before running.

The best part about the short runs is that I can go out and get it done before the kids wake up, if Jerry's home, or I could be done by 8:30 if I go right from the bus stop. It's nice to be able to run and shower before sitting down to have breakfast (my favorite meal).

Anyway, this morning I had speed work on the schedule: 5 x 400 with 400-meter recovery jogs. I knew I didn't want to do it on the road (trying to run intervals on the road is difficult, because of traffic, terrain, etc.), so it was either the treadmill or the high school track. I hadn't been to the track in forever, so I chose that.

I drove to the high school, and I was the only one there (there is never anyone there when I am, so it's actually kind of peaceful).

It looks a lot warmer in the photo than it actually was--I was wearing running tights and a long-sleeved tech shirt. I started with a one-mile warm-up, just running slowly and shaking out the nerves (I get SO nervous for speed work, isn't that weird?). Based on my recent 5K time trial, and my goal 5K time, my 400's should be done in 1:48-1:54 (that's minutes per lap); translated, that's about a 7:12-7:36/mi pace.

After I ran my warm-up, I started the first interval. I haven't done speed work in a while, especially on the track, so I wasn't sure if I was going to be able to get a feel for the correct pace. Halfway through the first lap, I knew I'd started out too fast. I didn't want to look at my watch (because it's hard when trying to run fast), but my breathing sounds could probably be heard from the parking lot.

When the Garmin beeped to end that interval, I glanced down and saw my pace was in the 6:00's. I knew there was no way in heck that I would be able to do that again, so I tried to slow it down next time (not that it was hard to slow it down!).

The intervals were tough! Each time I finished one, it would take me the entire lap of recovery jogging to catch my breath and get ready for the next one. When I was done with the last recovery jog, I kept going (slowly) for another half-mile to get in an even four miles for the day. Turns out, I did much better than I expected on the intervals!

I was aiming to complete each one in 1:48-1:54, and my splits ended up being: 1:44, 1:49, 1:49, 1:51, 1:50. Next week, I'm going to make sure I don't start so fast. Even though speed work is HARD, it always leaves me feeling fan-freaking-tastic when I'm done. My face was nearly the same color as the track after that workout, and I was dripping with sweat. Success!

I haven't wanted to jinx anything by writing about it, but I've been doing really well with my eating this week. Once I booked our Punta Cana vacation, I realized that I would have to work my butt off if I wanted to get back down to goal before the trip. I had to quit half-assing Weight Watchers, and go back to strictly counting everything like I used to.

I did have ice cream again on my long run day, but that's the only dessert/sweet I've had. I planned it out ahead of time, and worked it into my points. It was nice to eat dessert without guilt--for the past few months, I'd been eating way too many sweets, and I always felt guilty. But when I plan for and count them, I feel good about it.

About a week ago, I was looking for a shirt that I knew I'd brought to Toledo for the race last month, and while digging through a travel bag in my closet, I found half a bag of Cadbury Mini Eggs (I brought them with me and forgot about them). That was really tempting! I threw them in the Kitchen Safe and set the time for the maximum (10 days). When it opens up, I might take out a serving of them for after my next long run.

I didn't have any plans of doing the Grosse Ile Memorial Day 8K run again this year, but my little brother, Nathan, called me yesterday and was looking for a race to do that weekend. I told him about the Memorial Day 8K, and he was wondering if I'd want to do it with him. I decided I'm going to, because it's a nice race, cheap, and I like that Nathan is really getting hooked on racing. A few years ago, the race gave sweatshirts instead of tech shirts, and I really wish they still did that. I wear my old race sweatshirt all the time around the house.

I have no hope of beating last year's time (40:31, an 8:09/mi pace), but I think I'll try to aim for an 8:30 pace. If I don't feel like pushing it, though, I won't be upset at all to just run it without aiming for any particular pace. An 8K is a nice race distance; I wish there were more of them!


  1. Great job with your speed intervals Katie. Last semester I did sprints with friends at the uni track, it was hard work but like you I felt great afterwards. Very beetroot - faced lol

    Good work on keeping on track, I have been trying but it is hard. Thanks for always being so transparent about your progress, it is inspiring.

  2. I sooo understand that fan freakin tastic feeling! Isn't it great! Congrats on your speed work! I've learned to not pressure myself when I run the same race a year later. Just do your best and most importantly HAVE FUN! Oh and it's nice to know i'm not the only RED FACED runner out there! I look like a beet when i'm done :)

  3. nice work!!! and you arent weird for getting nervous for speedwork...i do too! haha! I am actually going to the track tomorrow for you- havent done formal speedwork in awhile. what i think ill do is a mile warm up like you did then i do 4 x800. i think ill have to jog/walk a lap in between each like you said.

    have a good day!!!

  4. I have never gone to the school track to run.. I should!


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