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

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Track Time Trials

As you might be able to guess from the above photo, I found a track to use for my workout last night. A little Googling, a little website-checking, one phone call and I discovered that a small local university has a regulation (400 meter) track that is open to the public from 5AM to 11PM!

Just under 3 miles from my house, nestled among drool-worthy homes and tree-lined streets was the nicest outdoor track I've ever seen. Granted, I haven't studied many outdoor tracks, but still. It wasn't very busy and there was plenty of parking. I was nervous that I'd stumble into some kind of organized event and not realize it, but it turns out that it was very obvious to tell that it was just regular people walking and jogging.

There was a small group doing what appeared to be 400 meter repeats, quite a few people just walking, and a few others running laps.

I stripped off my long-sleeved shirt, told the rain to stay away, and started on a one-mile warm-up jog. As usual, my calves were tight thereby causing me some shin pain. After my warm-up laps, I went off to the side to stretch my calves and my shins. I felt much better afterward.

Then it was off to the actual speedwork. Per Holly, the plan provided to her by one of her running clubs was 1200 meters at my 2 mile goal pace, 800 meters at 1 mile goal pace, 600 meters at 1 mile goal pace, and 2 sets of 400 meters at my 800 meter goal pace with the same distance of jogging in between. Since I have no idea what my goal pace is for anything, I let Holly choose the times.

How'd I do? Well, the Garmin tends to be a little flaky so it was difficult to stay precisely on pace. However, for someone who hasn't ever really thought about pacing before, I think I did pretty good. I couldn't figure out if there was a way to set-up to the Garmin to automatically record the lap time at the end of each interval, so I was manually pressing the lap button. This worked okay except for one interval where I forgot. Oops.

Also, I wasn't sure what lane to run it so I tended to switch between some of the middle and outside lanes so I'm sure my distances weren't exact. If anything, they were longer than the goal distances.

Finally, I could totally tell that running on a track a lot could aggravate my hips and knees. Running in the same direction in essentially circles can put a lot of pressure on your outside hip and, in my case, my inside knee. Thankfully, neither was bad enough to make me have to stop running. Also, if it wasn't for breaking the distances up with goal times and such, I would have been BORED. Running on a track is BORING. In fact, I have to wonder if I could have pushed myself even harder if I'd been out there with a group. It might have made it less boring :-)

So, how'd I do in terms of specific times? Just the Garmin or the Bones in Motion data doesn't make much sense without context. So here's my attempt at context. Of course, it probably still only makes sense to other runners.

Warm-up of 1.06 miles in 10:03 minutes
1200 meters at an average of 8:29 minutes per mile (Goal was 9:00)
1200 meter jog at average pace of 9:26 minutes per mile
800 meters at an average of 7:55 minutes per mile (Goal was 8:00)
800 jog at average pace of 10:54
600 meters at an average of 8:03 (Goal was 8:00)
600 meter jog and first 400 meter at average of 8:55 (Goal for 400 meters was 7:30)(This is where I forgot to push the lap button so two intervals got smooshed into one. I can't figure out if there's a way to separate them or not.)
400 jog at average pace of 10:46
400 meters at average of 7:09 (Goal was 7:30)
400 jog at 11:05
Cool down of .50 miles in 9:54

Total: 6.06 miles in 55:56 with average pace of 9:13 minutes per mile

Overall, my actual times are pretty close to my goal times and, in some cases, a little faster! I'm pretty proud of myself for doing so well.

I'm also proud of myself for getting out there and doing something that I was apprehensive about doing. Not just the actual workout, but the whole process of finding a track, figuring out hours, and going there at all was pretty daunting. But, I did it! And, to be honest, I'm sort of looking forward to doing it again.

In closing, here's the funny "map" of my run last night. Gotta love how the Garmin takes a minute to orient itself. I certainly didn't take a shortcut across the infield, I promise!



Bayjb said...

I like the Garmin graphic. It's like an old-school video game!

kilax said...

Ha ha! Your map is funny!

Yay for getting out there and doing a track workout. I've been wanting to. Theyre good for your speed.

You can switch your Garmin from miles to laps, and it WILL remember when you got to the starting point. But I don't remeber how to change it!

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