Wednesday, February 6, 2008

Nice Day. . . But Needed to Cut it Short

The plan was to do 7 miles of negative splits.  Last time I did this, (Negative Splits) I started about 7:07 and got to about 6:56 by Mile #4 - then I picked it up finishing in about 6:45-6:35-6:21.  I remember mentioning at the time that by the last mile I was considering adding a mile or two at about 6:15-6:00 because I was feeling really good.  (didn't do it however)

I wanted to do a similar run today.  First mile was 6:55, a little fast, but I figured no big deal.  Second mile was 6:48 and now I'm thinking this is too fast - I'm going to turn it into a tempo run which is not what I want to do.  I decide to force myself to hold the pace here and I kept a watchful eye every 1/4 mile.  Third mile 6:48, then 6:46.  

Just like the last time I did this run, by the middle of the 5th mile something happens where I feel like the first part of the run was just a "warm up" and I can't help but open up the stride length which subsequently increases the pace.  And even though the HR continues to inch up mile after mile, the run seems to get progressively easier.

The back half of the 5th mile was a little faster and I came in at 6:41.  I carried that pace into the 6th mile and it got faster every quarter - Mile #6 was 6:28.  

Here's where the problem came. . . . . the track I run on is a Community College, and their track team was just starting practice.  I did my best to dodge these guys for the past couple of miles during their warm ups, but now they were taking up 7 lanes practicing their relays.  Their coach asked me to head out to lane 8 or 9.  (not much fun in that)  So, Mile #7 was cut short to only a 1/2 mile (3:06).

What ya gonna do?  Had the track team not been out there I was going to finish that mile at the 6:12 pace and then "maybe" I'd have tried to gun one just to see how it went.

This is twice now that I've done this negative split run and both times it was a similar result.  (although I was about 9 seconds/mile faster today)  The interesting thing for me is that I'm going along for 4-5 miles feeling "pretty good" and then it's like a switch goes off and I'm in this "other mode" where I can run a full tempo effort like the first 5 miles at 6:45 pace (which should add a fair amount of fatigue) never even happened.  What do I need a 5 mile MP run just to warm up??  Not likely.  So what the hell?  

If this scenario develops again (I'll try to make sure I'm not running at the same time as the track team) I'm going to keep going to see what happens.

Training:  6.5 miles (6:55-6:48-6:48-6:46-6:41-6:28-3:06)  Average pace - 6:42


Grellan said...

Some nice running there. Make sure and avoid the track team next time as I want to see what happens.

Mike said...

Thanks Grellan. This track team is tough to avoid - it seems like they're always there. I've gone over a little early, sometimes a little later and they're still there.

I think part of the problem is they only run about 10% of the time which seems to drag out their practice times. Here's the rough schedule from what I've been able to determine:

1. Hang out for maybe 20 minutes
2. 2-lap warm up "crawl"
3. Hang out for 10-15 minutes
4. Go thru a few poorly conceived drills (15-20 minutes)
5. additional 2-lap "crawl"
6. Hang out for 15 more minutes
7. Start Practice. . . . Last time that was practicing Mile Relay handoffs 7 lanes wide. Each guy jogged his 1/4 mile (couldn't have been faster than 1:35-1:45 quarters) and then executed the simplest handoff in all of track and field.

Typically if you're going to involve handoffs in a practice it's 4x100 handoffs (something that actually requires practice) OR you're going to be stressing the 1/4 mile runs and the handoffs are just a simple addition. Not these guys - they practiced the worst of both worlds. I guess the drill was "go as slow as humanly possible and then hand off the baton to an almost stationary runner as if you're passing the salt at the dinner table".

I have no idea how long this carried on as I jogged a quick cool down on the outside lanes and headed home. Steps 1 thru 6 are consistent w/ every practice however.