Back to the track… first speed work post-marathon.

I have not done speed work in far too long. I didn’t get most of my interval speed training done when I was training for the marathon due to my injury, and then when I was finally running again it was time to taper and reduce both speed and mileage. The fact that this was my last workout at the track scared me… I had to dig all the way to the early May blog archives for that one.

I was supposed to meet a friend at the track bright and early at 5:30 am but the snooze button magically pressed itself four times this morning and I made it there by 6:00 am. Better late than never. My friend Shawn was just finishing up his 8 X 800 m repeats when I got there. I planned to do a simple 8 X 400 m repeat workout just to get back into speed work. 

I wore compression socks to run today for the second time ever. Last time I wore them on the treadmill and I wasn’t a huge fan because my legs were sweating and that is gross. Today I felt kind of the same way and didn’t like how hot my legs felt (and not in the good sexy kind of way) in them. 

I also wore my signature speed work shirt. It’s the only thing that makes me go fast. Obviously I had goal times for the 400 m intervals in my head but I really didn’t know how I stood with my fitness and thought maybe I could at least get a base point today… a starting point to improve upon. Last time I ran 6 X 400 m I had an average time of 1:35.06. Today I figured I would be about the same.

It was my friend Shawn who took these pictures of me running, not a random stranger who was also at the track at 6 am. The iPhone photography is wonderful but the form in the photos uhhh… needs work 😉 I managed an average interval time of 1:34.38 (average pace of 6:18 min/mile). You think a minute and a half would go by quickly but somehow is seems to take forever! The great joys of doing speed work!

Not too shabby for my first speed work session in what feels like forever. I only had one sub-1:30 but I think that will be my goal for these silly 400 m sprint things… running them just under 1:30 average. I hate speed work when I am doing it, but even in between intervals I feel amazing. My heart is pounding and my lungs feel like they are going to collapse but somehow I can feel it making me a stronger and faster runner. It is also a huge confidence boost to conquer a speed workout. 

Thoughts during 400 m intervals:

100m… “I can do this! I’m not even breathing hard. One lap… I got this!”

200m… “How am I only half way done? This shouldn’t be this hard?”

250m… “Ah, here is the hard breathing, or no breathing, I can’t breathe!”

300m… “Last quarter, last 100m, down the home stretch… almost there. I can’t feel my legs… am I slowing down or are my legs just losing sensation?”

375 m… “SO CLOSE! You don’t need oxygen for 25 m, just go!”

400 m… “Breathe… breathe… you did it… that wasn’t that bad!”

I ran the 3.5 miles to the track as a warm up, did my intervals and then ran 3.5 miles back home for a total of 10.26 miles. I walked/jogged 200m (half of a lap) in between each 400m interval and my warm up and cool down runs to and from my house were at a very easy peasy pace. I forgot my iPod today but I didn’t even realize it until I was halfway HOME! I must have been deep in thought or something but it was kind of nice. Plus, my headphones don’t stay in my ears for speed work so I wouldn’t have been able to use it at the track anyway! 

No wind. Sunshine. It is nice to get a workout like that done by 7:00 am! I feel like a faster runner already… isn’t that how it works? 😉 I am not sold on running in compression socks. I love wearing them after races but wasn’t a huge fan of how hot I got in them running. I think maybe the calf sleeves would alleviate that problem a bit. I know lots of people create a mantra for themselves when they have tough workouts or speed work to do… what is yours?!


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