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Tuesday, February 23, 2016

Marathon training summary: the speed work

Speedwork was easily the worst part about this training cycle! I got back into the swing of things with Harrell Track Club at 5:30 am once a week, but it wasn't ideal. The group is one much faster woman and a varied group of 3 to 10 runners significantly slower (and older) than I. No one to run with at all. Plus, Christmas, New Year, and Mardi Gras disrupted our schedule (one member of the group had one daughter debuting, and two others in Rex's court, so she was either busy or frazzled for months!)
But even if we'd been totally consistent, I just don't have the speed I used to (and I was never fast, especially short and fast track stuff). I disappointed myself every single time. Plus, the speedwork was much shorter than I would have preferred for marathon training, since no one else in the group was running a marathon in the Spring, and since many of the members are late 50's and starting to move away from a lot of miles.
My favorite workout was actually one I ran by myself on a day when no one else was running. I went to the track anyway, and ran:
4 sets of 4x400 with 200 jog between each (400 between sets - continuous workout). Sets at half marathon pace, 10k, 5k, then mile pace. Set 1: 1:47, 1;40, 1:41, 1:43. Set 2: 1:40, 1:37, 1:36, 1;38. Set 3: 1:34, 1;33, 1:32, 1;33. Set 4: 1:31, 1:29, 1:31, 1:30.
It was a nice 8 mile workout with the warm up and cool down, and starting slower eased me into the speed. I find it incredibly hard to run fast early in the morning!
But other than that, workouts have been slow and depressing. So nothing good to report on that front.
I did something probably foolish last night... I went to Monday night track with Varsity! We just started back up this week after ceasing this workout for several years. I missed it, and I wanted to check it out, even though it started at 6:00 pm (while I was still at work, counting my register down). When I got there, the warm-up was still going on, so I didn't actually miss any workout. We did 4x400 at 5k, with a full 400 jog between, then a 1:30 rest and 4x400 at a cut-down pace. I did ok - it was tough to gauge my pace. I wore my new stopwatch and I hadn't quite figured it out (because the instructions show a watch with 6 buttons and mine has 5, so I was understandably confused). I started much too fast, but during the rest I got a better grip on using the watch and turning the light on, and did better.
Only a few people showed up, but I REALLY hope that we continue with Monday track. I loved Monday track! I just don't have the same pep on Tuesday morning. It's just too early. Right now, though, I'm just hoping I fully recover by Sunday. I hope the high volume of easy running in this workout will have kept my legs fresh.


  1. Morning track is really tough. My Tuesday am City Park group has dwindled down to a pathetic showing these days. There's usually 3 of us, and I am always the caboose. I love the running friends that I've made here in NOLA, but I really miss the track workouts that I did with my running group in DC. They were coach-led, and you could *always* count on at least 3-5 other people your pace to run with. There were typically 4+ groups of varying paces, so it was easy to jump in with an appropriate pace group, and you could move up or down as needed. That being said, it was a business, so I did have to pay to participate in the weekly workouts. And it wasn't cheap! But I loved the coach and the group, so it was worth it to me.

    1. Come out to Monday nights, maybe! It was a really tiny group last night, but hopefully it grows. It used to be a big group, 20 to 40 people. I miss that.

  2. Ack! I find that if there's no one to run with at speed sessions, I'm better off just doing a set on my own. Early AM track is tough; sounds like the Monday night works better. Oh - and GOOD LUCK this weekend! You got this.

  3. I love speed sessions now that I've moved on from my old group. My old coach used to do great sessions but somewhere along the way he thought that longer was better and we'd end up doing 15-20 mins extra of hard stuff. In the new group we only ever do 30 mins and that means you can run each rep hard. It allows the development of real speed and I'm running faster.
    I'm glad your other track session has started back for you. Sounds like it's much more suited to where you're at.