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Wednesday, March 5, 2014

On track for injury

No, not right now. But a few years ago, yes!
I have this sneaking suspicion that the track is leading me to injury. The combination of no cool-down or stretching, hard workouts, and running after work on tired legs might be too much stress for my fragile little self.
And I kind of doubt the workouts we're given sometimes. Now, our group coach is really qualified, so I shouldn't question him. He ran 8:27 for 3000 in college, so - fast. But the other week, our workout was supposed to be three "broken miles" -
400 (30 seconds rest)
800 (30 seconds rest)
400 (long rest).

Do that three times. At mile pace.
I'm sorry, coach. Did you just ask me to do three mile pace? I mean, yes, broken miles, but still: that workout was hard, and I dropped out after 2 miles. My second 800 was pathetic, and I knew I couldn't hang on for a third mile. Maybe I'm just a wimp, but I feel like a lot of track stuff at mile or 2-mile pace - which is the bulk of our work - is too tough for me.
Am I crazy? What kind of track workouts are you running? And how do you warm-up and cool-down?


  1. I have done maybe two track workouts ever, and do not have a coach to push me... so... part of the reason I'm not fast and don't push myself? Take time to stretch! You are finally getting healthy!

  2. Ugh, that sounds miserable. I totally support dropping out when, as an experienced runner, you know you've done what you can & your body is telling you it's too much.

    I do whatever RunCoach tells me, the bulk of which seems to be 300s @ slightly faster than mile pace, 1200s @ 5K pace, or the so-labeled "Big Workouts!" that are like two mini speed workouts with 30 minutes of marathon pace running sandwiched in between. I've pretty much only been marathon training since I've been on RunCoach, though, so they tend to be on the slightly less speedy / insane side as track work goes.

  3. We do anything from 400 repeats to 10 minute efforts. I never work at a specific pace though. I tend to try and stick to a pace I think I can maintain for the whole session. It usually means starting at a pace that feels a little easy but believe me, it's hard to hold that pace by the end.

  4. I train with a tri group so their track workouts are often geared towards a sprint tri at the very moment I'm training for a marathon, etc. Warmups are a mile or so. We sometimes do speed sets (800 moderate, 400 hard, rest, repeat) but I can't say I've ever done them at mile pace! The benefit of training with a group is you have other people to motivate you; the downside is the workouts are not tailored to you specifically. So I sometimes show up to track, explain that I'm in marathon training, and do my own workout accordingly. Could you do that? Does your coach know your injury history?

  5. I haven't done track workouts in a while, but I will in a couple of weeks. Mile pace with that workout sounds pretty advanced, it seems like typically those types of workouts are a little faster than 5K pace, but not much. But who knows ... just seems like a little much.

  6. You're not crazy! Thats a tough workout! In my experience fast running is harder on the legs than more mileage - especially at those paces.

    I honestly don't do anything faster/shorter than 800s at 5K pace. When I do do shorter intervals, I do them as fartleks, and do not focus on pace at all; mainly just maintaining an anaerobic effort with good form. Partly so I can avoid injury... aaaaand partly cos Im lazy with speed work.

    Warm up are some front and side leg swings (only just started these in the last few months and I feel like they make a big difference!) and a couple of slow miles. Slow jog and stretch/roll (if I have time) for cool down.


  7. Those are pretty long distances to be running your mile pace, unless you are racing a mile! I would use that more for strides of about 200-400 M max, with walking recoveries or slow (very slow - long- jogs between). Yeah. He's off his rocker.
    3k-5k pace is the appropriate speed for those kinds of workouts. Not mile pace.

  8. Seriously.? Did you plug your recent half into a calculator for training paces? You can refer him to the Daniels one. He must have written something down wrong.

  9. I did lots of track workouts last year with our coach, and they were usually targeted towards the kind of distances that we were training for. A sprint tri = short and fast intervals 200-400m, Ironman = 1/2-1mile repeats. We would always warm up for 1200m (3 laps) then do 10 min of dynamic stretching and other exercises to get our heart pumping. Only then we would start the track workout. After the workout, we would all stretch together for 10 more minutes. Your coach should have you do all this. Speed intervals are very taxing on the body. You should also have appropriate training volume before and after the day of track work. I'd be careful if it's not planned properly.

  10. I have started coaching myself because of that very thing. While I don't want to be antisocial, my body and schedule are different. So different that I calculate my paces by McMilland and how I'm feeling that day. Also, track is every other day, with a tempo on the week I don't use the oval. Do I progress as fast? No. Does it work. Seems to. Intensity can be a momentum killer if not used correctly and sometimes we have to unfortunately get bitten a couple times before we realize our limits.

  11. Ok. If the speed work is a total of 3 miles, then the paces should be at 5K OR SLOWER pace. I could see 5K pace b/c you are getting breaks between, but anything faster than that is definitely setting yourself up for injury.

    Yes, McMillan is a great resource for finding training paces. Daniels (someone mentioned above) is also a good resource. Training too hard most definitely leads to breakdown. Take care of yourself, chica!

  12. Sorry, forgot to mention the other day - nice pun title!

  13. Just my 2 cents....
    First off, just because a guy is "fast" doesn't necessarily make him qualified to coach. I'm not saying he isn't, I'm just saying speed has nothing to do with being a good coach.

    Second, that's WAY too fast. I ran the mile in college and we never ever ever ran anything like this.

    Third, this is the type of workouts you get with a "group coach", nothing catered to you individually. It sorta pisses me off.

    Be careful and listen to you and do what feels best. I'd hate to see you on the DL're making such great progress!

  14. I'm catching up, but I think that's a stupid stupid workout, and one I could not complete.

    I could do that workout IF I had equal time recovery. But 30 seconds is crazy.