A story of going from being a non-runner to planning for a marathon in three years...

Thursday, February 12, 2009

Go Speed Racer, Go!

Well obviously I didn't keel over after my speedwork workout last night. In fact, I kicked its butt and was only a mild zombie afterward.

Last night's schedule was the following:

Repeat the following three times:
1600 meters (or one mile) at between an 8:55 and 9:16 mile per minute pace
800 meters (or half a mile) jog at a slower speed

It was supposed to be a total of 7 miles.

Before I got on the treadmill, I set up a "speedwork" playlist on my iPod. I estimated how many songs I would need to get through each segment of the workout and scheduled my favorite "fast" running songs during the speed miles. It worked out pretty well! If anyone is interested in the playlist, just let me know and I'll post it.

I started out doing a one mile warm-up with the treadmill at 5.3 MPH. I also futzed with the incline on the treadmill. I know I need to figure out the incline but doing so involves math and, well, let's just say there is a reason I have a social science degree. Regardless, I know the treadmill wasn't totally flat but I'm unsure what the incline percentage was.

After my warm-up mile, I sped the treadmill up to 6.7 MPH. For reference, the last time I did speedwork I did my fast miles at 6.4 or 6.5 MPH. So, I was definitely increasing the difficulty here! I can't remember at what point I moved up to 6.8 MPH, but I know I did. And, yes, I ran the entire mile.

After the fast mile, I slowed down to a walk for a tenth of a mile. Then I jogged the rest of my recovery half-mile at 5.3 MPH. Strangely, that half-mile seemed to drag on forever. But then it was time for my next speed mile. This one I did almost all of at 6.8 MPH.

Again, I walked the first tenth of a mile during the recovery phase but then jogged the rest until I finished that half-mile. Then it was back to the speed. In fact, I ran the first and last quarter mile of this segment alternating between 7.0 MPH and 7.2 MPH! I was really surprised at myself. I had NO IDEA I could run that fast on the treadmill. I was so proud of myself for doing it, too. The middle half-mile I alternated between 6.7 and 6.8 MPH.

Towards the end my form was seriously degenerating and at times I found myself holding onto the treadmill handrails to keep myself upright. There was a point where I felt like puking but I persevered.

But, I have to say, the recovery half mile and then the 1.5 mile cool-down were lovely. I just zoned out and ran at 5.5 and then 5.3 MPH until I hit the seven mile mark. Once again, it wasn't my legs that were tired. It was my brain. Those people who say that running is mostly a mental effort are right. It's so easy to psych yourself out when, really, your body can do a lot more than you think it can. Every time I do speedwork I'm reminded of that fact.

Overall, I finished my 7 miles in just over 73 minutes. I probably could have finished it a little faster if I had pushed myself just a little harder during the recovery segments. But, regardless, I ran three fast miles, seven miles total, and I'm very happy with that. Jason thinks I'm crazy but I don't care. There is something completely amazing about realizing you are capable of so much more than you ever though. Now, if I could apply that to the rest of my life I'd be set!


kristen said...

Nice job. Speedwork is hard enough and you did that on a suckmill - very impressive.

I am always looking for new running music. I would love to see your playlist that powered you through your run.

Anonymous said...

You are SO AWESOME. Seriously. I feel like you're running so much more than me!

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