With that disclaimer, this focus of this blog is a single workout that I performed on Thursday.
The track that Greg and I typically used has been closed for maintenance for over two weeks. They're installing what appears to be a new football field, and it's taking a long time. We first learned about it when we showed up for a workout and they told use we couldn't use the track. Thankfully, the workout was 400's, so we found a flat section of low-traffic neighborhood road and measured out 0.25 miles on the Garmin and used it.
But since then we've been using a different track-- one that's home to a gaggle of about 25 geese. The first time we used the track, the geese started out on the field in the center of the track, and migrated to the outside during our workout. We managed to avoid them, and they managed to avoid us during this process. But Thursday was a different story. When we arrived, the geese were congregated at the center of the track again, and we thought they might just stay there since they didn't look too anxious to go anywhere.
The prescribed workout was 7 x 800m at 5K pace with 30-second rests in between. The 30-second rests were a new curve ball. Usually, 800m intervals come with 400m recovery jogs, or at the very least 200m jogs. But this time, my coach instructed me to simply rest (not run) for 30 seconds and then start up again. He also told me that he wanted me to try and run a little faster than my 5K pace so I could practice running at a sub-20:00 pace. So, looking at this workout, it's 3.5 miles (which is longer than a 5K) at faster than 5K pace, with 30-second rests thrown in every half mile.
Before the Workout
I'll admit that I was intimidated by this workout. It was almost like racing a 5K in training but with some small breaks. But, there have been quite a few workouts over the past few years that looked intimidating on paper but weren't so difficult in execution. I took half a serving of UCAN before the run just to be sure I had enough energy to get through it.
Greg and I warmed up for about two miles before starting the workout. The geese were moving around on the field but they didn't seem to be trying to cross the track yet. The plan was for me to pace the workout, with Greg running behind me. This is how we typically run workouts because I like to set the pace and it takes the guesswork out of it for Greg. Even though he's faster than me, we're close enough in speed that my workout paces still work for him.
I told Greg that my plan was to run between 3:14-3:16 for each of them. This would equal my 5K pace. I thought to myself that if I felt really good, I would push a little harder, like my coach advised, for slightly faster than 5K pace.
Part of the challenge was timing the rests. When I finished each 800, I hit the lap button on my watch to record the split. The watch face then shows the split for about 5 seconds before transitioning back to its normal mode. So I would stare at the watch until I could see the total elapsed time, and then add 25 seconds onto whatever it said. The first 2-3 seconds were spent slowing down and stopping after crossing the line, and the remaining time was spent walking back to the line and waiting. So I'm guessing I only got about 20 seconds of actual complete (non-walking) rest.
The first rep came in at 3:16. This was exactly what I wanted, and I was happy I was able to pace it by feel. My Garmin is completely inaccurate on the track, so I always pace these runs based on how they feel. I upped the effort a little for the next one, finishing in 3:12. But I thought that might be too fast, so I backed off the pace for the third, finishing in 3:14. Rep 4 was 3:15.
Being over halfway done was immensely helpful from a mental standpoint. So I must have turned on the gas a lot during the 5th rep, which clocked in at 3:09. OR. . . it could have been the geese. As I approached the 200m mark, the geese were starting to cross the track. They were in lane 1 & 2 so I moved into lane three to avoid them. Same thing at 600m. So it was either the geese or the fact that I was over halfway done that I was able to up the effort.
Rep 6 was challenging and I was really ready to be done with the workout at this point. My legs were tired and I was tired (3:13). The geese were in full-fledged migration mode so it was a game of geese dodging at the 200m and 600m point. I mentally recollected myself during that final rest, and finished off the last 800m in 3:12.
After the Workout
Greg and I were happy to be done with the workout. It was a tough one for sure, but not as hard as I anticipated. When I got home, I averaged out the splits, and they came out to 3:11 and some change. My training log allowed me see my pace without the rests and it ended up being 3.5 miles at an average pace of 6:24. This pace would squeak me under 20:00 but just barely. And of course, this was a flat track, and the weather was relatively nice.
My legs ended up being a little tired on Friday and during today's long run. But they still held up well, allowing me to run 14.1 miles at a pace of 8:30. My next 5K is just one week away and I'm excited for it. Will I actually attempt to run sub-20:00? And if so, will I do it? Come back next week to find out!!!
|The fittest geese in the Washington DC Metro area|