Wednesday, August 1, 2012

Back to the Track!

It’s been a while, but after my impromptu race last week I decided that yes, I’m ready, it’s time to start track workouts again.

I had evening plans last night (HAPPY BIRTHDAY 6x6!!!), which meant that yesterday morning my 5:05 alarm sounded – time to get up for a CAR workout! (Morning workouts start at 6:30 and warming up starts at 6:15, but the track is a long metro ride away from my apartment.)

Some people love the endurance challenge running mileage, others love the competition and test of racing, but I like the fusion of those factors – basically, I love workouts. When done right, they’re hard but not excruciating; long but not boring; and teammates push each other but do not race. Plus, if all things go according to plan, workouts get better and better and serve as a weekly reminder that your efforts are paying off.

This is a good getting-back-into-things workout: 2 x Mile + 2 x 800.

We were all kind of getting back into things this week. My teammates have been doing hill repeats (instead of track work) all summer, and I have only been running mileage. Plus this was my first workout in a while, so I had no real expectations: Run. Feel good doing it. Don’t hurt myself. Fin.

Anyone can (and should?) try this workout, even if you don’t have a track full of excellent runners to pull you along! Miles and half-miles are an easy distance to map out on trails or in your neighborhood. Plus, since the repeats are on the longer side, there’s no need to run crazy-fast…maybe go for 5k pace for the miles? And then the 800s should be a bit faster. Consult Coach George’s pace chart here to find out the times you should run based on your race paces.

The Workout: Miles and 800s

Total distance: about 8 miles
  • Warm up: Jog 15 minutes
  • Drills and strides (watch a video of how to do them)
  • 1600m (1 mile), jog 800m recovery
  • 1600m (1 mile), jog 800m recovery
  • 800m (1/2 mile), jog 400m recovery
  • 800m (1/2 mile)
  • Cool down: Jog 15 minutes
Some wise works from Coach George: We include the interval sessions in our marathon training as a change of pace, and as a way to improve everyone's running efficiency, but we don't want to turn them into high intensity, crushing anaerobic sessions. You don't want to leave yourself so beaten up after the interval workouts that you need to back down on your training volume on the days following the workouts in order to recover.

I recovered fine (and am not a marathoner anyways), so hooray for track workouts!!!

And for those who care (i.e. my dad), I started slow and finished fast: 6:32, 6:12, 2:51, 2:52.