This morning I went to the track for my first “speed” workout in months. The last time I ran around that oval was December; I was apprehensive to set foot on it again.
Our running group started track workouts late last Fall, and I quickly learned that this is something you should ease into. I went out hard and fast, my Heart Rate (HR) usually shot through the roof, and my hamstrings were tight for the days following. Intervals engage those legs in an entirely different way; fast-twitch muscle fibers use anaerobic metabolism “to generate short busts of strength or speed”, and are considered “an asset” to the sprinter. (Source)
Before deciding my target pace, I took a few things into consideration:
- I raced these muscles 3 days ago, at a faster pace than they have run in at least two months
- I haven’t taken a full Rest day in over a week (alternating biking in with my runs)
- I haven’t done Intervals since December
The last thing I want right now (or, ever) is an injury from overtraining, since I’m not actually training. With all of that in mind, I decided on 4 x 800m – resting in between to bring my HR down to 100. Target pace – 7:30 min/mile.
Intervals are defined as “fast bouts of running”, but actually refer to the time you spend recovering between speed segments, or “repeats”. (via RW)
I did a quick one mile warm-up at ~9:45 pace. My HR stayed within 135-145, nice and slow.
Sidenote: Apparently I forgot to press the “lap” button correctly each time, so I don’t have actual “times” for each 800m, just the approximate pace. G and I are working on that for next time.
#1, 800m – 6:35
#2, 800m – 6:27
#3, 800m – 6:45
#4, 800m – 6:14
Well, needless to say my “target pace” was a little off. After the first round, I realized I have NO concept of my faster pace anymore. I had no idea I was moving that quickly, and by the third one I was already feeling fatigue.
While the original plan was 6 x 800m, I think being “conservative” with the first round was smart. It’s important to let your legs ease back in to hard workouts – I have plenty of time to build up and adjust my muscles to this speed.
For the last round, push it hard! See what you have left (but don’t pull anything), and feel that last surge of energy shoot through those fast-twitch fibers!
Each interval was met with a ~2 minute cooldown (immediately going into a SLOW jog, then walking to rest). After all four, I did a 1 mile cooldown at ~10 min/mile pace.
Speed workouts are back! Next up: The Tempo Run, my favorite.
What’s your favorite type of track/speed run? How often do you include them in your training?
I plan on including speed and hills at least once per week, and building my strength and speed up for my next “plan”, which is TBD. 🙂