As you may know Tuesday is a speed workout for me. These are typically done in the parking lot of Runner's Market or at least they have been for me since October. However, we learned last week that a bit of change was coming. This meant our speed workouts would no longer include an incline (or that beautiful decline) and cars in the parking lot. Instead it meant we had use of an actual track.
Today was day one of Tuesday morning's on the track. We met at 5am at UT's Tom Black track this morning. My schedule had me running a 2 mile warm up 5x800 m repeats w/3 min rest and 2 mile cool down plus the usual core and flex drills.
I've only gone over to the track for speed work twice in the evenings since I started training with Knoxville Endurance and neither of those workouts was my best. So, to say I was nervous about how this morning was going to go would be an understatement. My last few speed workouts in the parking lot had gone so well that I was afraid the successful speed workout streak might have come to an end this morning. When my alarm went off I really really really really wanted to just turn it off and pull the blankets over my head but my hubby tapped me on the back and said, "You're going to be late." Ugh. Eyes wide open and feet on the ground.
I got up, got dressed and left the house right at 4:20 am this morning thankful that it wasn't raining. It was a cool morning which is a plus especially considering where we typically are this time of year. In fact, it was a bit chilly to me and I was happy to have grabbed a light jacket when I was laying out my clothes last night before bed. I think it was around 50 degrees at the start of the workout.
We started with a warmup lap around the track then followed that with our core and flex drills before heading out for our 2 mile warm up. Now let me go back a bit and say that when my coach informed us we'd be at the track on Tuesday mornings one of the first things that I thought (and actually said) was, "Ugh. I hate running campus because it's so hilly!" bah. There is almost no place to really run at UT that doesn't involve some kind of hill. Needless to say I think I dreaded the warm up and cool down more than the actual workout.
I sucked it up though. The girls and I headed out for our 2 mile warm up and I knew that since we started downhill we'd end uphill. I wasn't too concerned that for the most part of the first mile we were pushing sub 9 pace because I knew I'd lose the girls on the 2nd mile as we hit the uphill. I have no shame in admitting that I will walk a hill or portion of it if I feel like it. Today was no different but I mostly wanted to save my legs for the speed work.
I finished the 2 mile warm up in 19:11 with splits being 9:08 and 10:03.
When we got back we did 6x100 striders before going into our speed workouts.
As I mentioned before, my schedule would have my speed workout listed as 5x800 and coach suggested the pace to start be 4:00-4:10. I struggle with pace, a lot. I tend to either go out too fast or too slow which can really suck. Going out too fast means committing to a faster pace (esp if you hit the 2nd repeat fast too) or feeling like going to slow means effort wasn't what it should be making a disappointing workout.
I hit the line this morning and start on my watch. I didn't even look down when I got to the first 200 m mark but I knew it was fast and when I passed my coach on the first lap and he said to pull back I knew I was running too fast.
3:52 8-19 seconds faster than goal pace.
I know what you're saying/thinking and no, that is not much faster than goal pace BUT have you ever done speed work? If no, then trust me when I say it really is a big difference (at least for me). It was hard to pull back and slow down on the second and third repeats.
As I was taking rest before my fifth 800 my coach had me jump in behind a friend and said to work with her to really try to stay on the 4:00 pace. We went a bit fast on the first 200 and I could feel her pull back in front of me but then it just felt too slow to me in comparison to my last 3 repeats. I didn't look at my watch to check pace but made my way in front of her and to the finish of my 4th repeat.
Coach was pleased with this as he wanted me to really get the feel for that pace. It'd be an 8:00 min/mile if running at race pace (for a 5k). He also told me I was free to push hard and go all out for the final repeat. I could already tell my legs were feeling the workout so I honestly wasn't sure what I would be capable of on the final repeat. My only hope was that it wasn't slower than the fourth one.
I pushed hard around the track for both laps all while another friend was saying, "lookin' good, keep that good form." Encouragement from others is one thing that makes these workouts worth getting up for. As I came across the line and hit my watch I knew I gave that last repeat my everything.
and the first words out of my mouth were, "Holy $h!+" as soon as I looked at the split on my watch. For me, that's FAST!!! I was stoked and appreciated the high fives from my coach.
My legs were shaking. I grabbed my jacket and water while I waited on my fast friends to finish their speed workout then we headed out for our cool down. Due to time we cut it to 1 mile rather than 2 and of course we weren't going to be lucky enough to avoid the hills despite trying.
1 mile cool down - 9:39
I'd be nuts if I said I was anything but excited and proud of this workout. I am really enjoying the speed work. I think I'm going to like Tuesdays at the track as much as I did Tuesdays in the parking lot, especially if I get use to the hilly warm up/cool down.