My morning outrunning the invisible tigers at the bottom of the treadmill

Thursday, February 14, 2013

I should be getting ready for rehearsal right now... but I really want to write about today while it's fresh on my mind.

Today I did my first ever planned out speed training. I've been thinking about it all week, eager and dreading it all at once, and when the time came there I was on the treadmill. I'm going to get a bit technical describing it all here, since I'm using this blog partly to help me remember what I've done.

Incline 1%
5 minute walk gradually increasing speed to 3.5 mph
5 minutes of alternating running and walking
1 min jog 4.5 / 1 min walk 3.5
1 min run 4.7/ 30 sec walk 3.5
30 sec run 5.0/ 1 min walk 3.5

Then it was time to begin. I thought "Ok, I'll do the first set at 5.5 mph. I know 5.4 feels good on the 1 minute intervals so if that's too easy after the first one we'll ramp it up a bit."


The plan was to do 4 minutes of running followed by 2 minute recovery walks at 3.5.

I start the first 4 minutes at 5.5 feeling confident, and two minutes in am still feeling pretty good. Trying to focus on my feet, on turning over faster instead of pushing off more, keeping it light and quick. By 3 minutes I've reached this place where my breath is Just on the edge of... something. It's still smooth, but I don't quite feel like I'm getting enough of it in or out. The last minute was intense. All of a sudden I was wet with sweat and really pushing.

Recovery time... 2 minutes.... ok. Let's just keep today at 5.5 then. Clearly that's enough of a challenge for today!

The second 4 minutes was... a lot like a very condensed version of the first one. I had a minute of "Ooh yeah, I've got this!" followed by a steady decline into "What the heck am I doing!?!" I kept reminding myself to speed up the feet and lighten and it helped, but I couldn't do it for long before having to remind myself again. My breath was coming hard by the end, and I had to make a choice.

Am I going to shorten the time, slow down, reduce the number of sets to 3, or is there some other adjustment I can make?

I decided to try lengthening the recovery time between the second and third set to 3 minutes, and that helped a LOT. Set 3 felt a lot like set 1, though the last minute was a lot harder.

"Ok Tracie, that worked but you're feeling really spent right now. You have one more set to do. What's the plan?"

The last recovery was 4 minutes. The last set was intense... 2 minutes of feeling great followed by 2 minutes of just holding on to the pace and making it through. I started the cool down, and after a couple minutes of walking thought I'd try a little experiment. Since my warm-ups included some slower running I figured the cool down could too.

All of a sudden... 5mph feels a lot slower than it did before.

And I knew, when that hit me.... why I'm going to do speed work, and why I'm going to do it faithfully every week that I'm training. 5.5 may not seem fast to some people, but 5.0 is a fast time for me... so if I can push the boundary between where I feel comfortable and where it's fast up higher.... then it all changes.

That was torture. I can hardly believe I had enough "stick" to do all 4.
And it was fun.
And I can't wait until next week. Next week's speed goal is going to be to even out the recovery times. I'm thinking 3 minutes each, which is the same total time, but gives me a better base to work from.
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Member Comments About This Blog Post
    Awesome job! Inspiring me to think about doing this as well, LOL.
    1857 days ago
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