April 05, 2016

Speed work comparison

This week is going by so slowly! I'm super excited to head to Portland on Friday, but I'm also super nervous about the race on Sunday. I'm taking it easy this week as far as running goes, but I wanted to do one more speed workout (nothing too intense) before I leave. I thought it would be pretty cool to do the same workout as my first speed work when I started the low heart rate training.

That first speed workout was 12/24/15:
1 mile warm-up
6 x 2:00 fast (recovery until HR is less than 136 bpm)
4 x 1:00 fast (recovery until HR is less than 136 bpm)

I remember doing that workout, and it felt so tough! Running 2:00 fast (for me) is roughly 1/4 mile, so I can compare these intervals with previous 400-meter workouts I've done. Anyway, today, I figured I would run the exact same route and do the exact same workout as 12/24, so that I would have a direct comparison.

It was cold this morning! We're starting to get winter temps now that it's springtime. Go figure! I layered up, and wore my older 920xt Garmin heart rate strap with the new Garmin 620 monitor that hooks to it. I was having some issues with the 620 strap (I really need to replace it, because it's nearly three years old). I hoped switching it up would help.

I set my Garmin for the workout (it automatically logs splits and gives me an alert for each interval). During the warm-up, I was running very easy, but my heart rate was showing 160, which I knew wasn't correct. Today was not the best day for my heart rate strap not to work! By the end of the warm-up, though, it looked legit at 135 bpm. My Garmin beeped for the first 2:00 interval, so I started running hard.

I actually kind of like doing the shorter intervals (and for some reason, running 2:00 seems so much shorter than running 400-meters, or 1/4 mile, even though they are all roughly the same for me). I wasn't too worried about my pace today; I just wanted to run hard in order to compare the times with my previous intervals.

Between each interval, I had a hard time getting my heart rate to read, and when it did, it was reading much higher than I knew my actual heart rate to be. It was frustrating. My Garmin wouldn't start my next interval until my heart rate was under 136 bpm, and I was walking very slowly.

Something must have happened with the heart rate monitor during my fifth interval. As soon as the Garmin beeped to stop that interval, I slowed to a walk to get my heart rate down. I didn't even walk three steps when my Garmin beeped for me to start the next fast interval. What the heck?! The HR monitor must have read my heart rate as being under 136, when I knew it was closer to 170.

I tried pushing the lap button, to start the next walk segment, but again, it immediately read my heart rate as being under 136, so it told me to run hard again--this time for 1:00. At that point, I just said screw it. I ran home at one solid pace, and figured that running five 2:00-intervals was better than nothing.

I was very surprised (in a good way) to see how much my intervals have improved in just a few months! Compared to the first five 2:00-intervals I did on 12/24:

The run on 12/24 seemed like it felt harder than today's, also. I compared today's splits with some other previous workouts (either 400-meter intervals or 2:00 intervals), and these are the pace comparisons:

I didn't include any treadmill runs--just outdoor runs. The one on 12/8/15 was my first outdoor speed work since my injury (not counting the Turkey Trot 5K that I raced hard), so it's nice to have that as a comparison. I was kind of surprised to see how much slower my pace was in January 2014. I looked back at that post on my blog, and saw that I had run at the State Park, and it was very icy. So that's why the splits were so inconsistent. (One of the things I love about having a blog is being able to go back and read about what went on during a particular day.)

Anyway, I was very pleased with today's speed work. Now I just have a couple of easy runs until my race on Sunday! I'm going to run easy tomorrow and Friday, and take Saturday off. I've discovered that I do best on speed work after a rest day, so I'm hoping that's what will happen for my race.

I've been so focused on my race that I haven't really thought about what I'm going to do when it's over! If I don't hit my goal on Sunday, I may try again in a few weeks (I know that I'm physically capable right now, but if things don't go my way on Sunday, I'll have to try again). If I do hit my goal, I'm not sure what I'll do next! I think I may focus on really building my aerobic base over the summer (tons of low heart rate training).

In the fall, maybe I'll try for another PR. I still don't have a desire to do a distance longer than a 10K at this point, so half-marathons and marathons are out. I signed up for the Tour de Troit bike ride again, so I'll probably do a lot of bike riding this summer. My goal for the Tour de Troit is simply to finish it, because now I know how to change a flat tire! ;)


  1. What amazing progress you have made in a few short months! So exciting!

  2. When running your intervals are you shooting for a particular zone or heart rate?

    1. No, not usually. It takes a little while for my heart rate to get up to where it should be for these intervals, and there is also a slight delay with the monitors. So, with intervals as short as these, it's better to aim for a pace target than a heart rate.

  3. YAY!!!! That's such amazing progress Katie!!! No pressure for this weekend, but you have rocked your training this weekend!!! And please please please go to Pine State Biscuits, Salt and Straw (ice cream), and Blue Star donuts for me! I miss Oregon so much!!! 😭😭😭😭


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