Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Threshold Miles it is

Woke up today and the left hamstring felt a little bit better - still tight, still a knot in there, but better than yesterday.  Unfortunately being the 2nd day after the deadlifts the right hamstring felt stiffer than the day before.  (this was to be expected)  So instead of one sore hamstring and one good one, I had two that were somewhere in the middle.  Good enough.  After all, this was just threshold work - not intervals, and certainly not reps.  I was going to be fine.

As I alluded to yesterday, I was really looking forward to this session.  Not so much because of the T-work as that's pretty standard stuff - but this would be my first real T-session since my Time Trial 600m/400m and that was a huge day for me.  Ever since then all of my runs have been faster and easier at the same time.  I believe part of it is due to improved running economy and form and part of it is just the central nervous system allowing me to recruit more muscle fibers (or however that works)  In any event, my running has improved by leaps and bounds over the past week or two based on my effort level / HR data, and today was going to be the day that I could determine just how much I've improved!

Another big help today - temperature.  I was going to be starting up at 11:00 am for a change and that combined w/ the break in the hot weather overall meant I was looking at 70 degrees at the start of the workout - big big difference from the 90+ I've been running in.  

I could tell I was amped up for this as my HR hit 101 when I walked out onto the track and I hadn't even done anything yet.  Next piece of evidence was that after a mile or so into my 2-mile warm up, I noticed I was doing my warm-up jog at 6:56 pace.  I finished the full warm-up and stretched both before and after to make sure my legs were loose.  I was going to just do 3 x 1-mile instead of 4 to play it safe - the break between intervals was going to be 1-minute.  Target pace was 6:16 - 6:20, but I figured I might be faster than that, which was OK as long as the HR stayed 170 or under to be true Threshold work.  I would keep track of my pace w/ the Garmin, but I decided not to start checking pace until I hit the half-mile mark as I wanted to run this thing on feel as much as possible.  However I did remind myself of three things before I took off - #1 don't run the first mile in 6:10, #2 don't run the first mile in 6:10, and #3 don't run the first mile in 6:10!  And then I was off . . . 

First lap felt quick and easy, same w/ the second.  At this point I looked down at the half-mile split - 2:54.  OK that's too fast.  Looked at the HR - 158, that's not very high.  Knowing I was just getting the 1-minute breaks and that I still had 2.5 miles to go I did my best to slow down some.  Second half was 3:04 closing out the first mile in 5:58.  Well that's certainly NOT 6:10! I remember muttering to myself, "way to keep it in check moron".  But at the same time, the HR was well within range and I felt fine, so I wasn't going to purposely adjust the pace for the 2nd mile - just go w/ it.

First half of the second mile came in at 2:56.  The genie was out of the bottle - there was no turning back now.  Unlike the first mile where I purposely slowed down the last 800m, I just let it go this time.  Second half of 2:59 brought me a 5:55 second mile.  Again, I felt fine afterwards and the HR was OK.  This was well above any expectations obviously, and I was really curious at this point - could I really throw another sub 6:00 mile up there w/ these really short breaks?  

After my 60 seconds of rest I was off on mile #3.  About 650m in I started to feel some fatigue for the first time - not a lot just something.  The reason for this became obvious when I checked my half mile split to reveal a 2:52.  At this point I said, "OK, you're not gunning this thing home - just run nice and easy and duplicate your 2nd half mile from the 2nd rep".  And for the first time today, I actually listened to myself and came in w/ a 2:59 2nd half, giving me a final mile time of 5:51.

Doing my customary 2-lap walk before the cool down I looked thru the data and I was very surprised at what I saw.  My HR never got above 167 the entire time - meaning I never hit 90% of max HR.  Average and max HR for the 3-miles were as follows:  155/162, 161/166, 164/167.

This wasn't some super effort I put out there because I was amped up - this was legit Threshold pace for this workout.  Meaning I was 21-25 seconds per mile faster than I was only 6-weeks ago, and the HR was lower this time.  

It's those fast reps, gotta be.  For whatever reason, my body just responds well to a few fast workouts - it makes everything else easier for me.  Tomorrow I've got a day off from running before a double on Friday, and easy 6-miler on Saturday, and then the 13-miler on Sunday.  Of course I've still got 2 more workouts at the gym this week as well.

Talk you you later, I'm off to get a couple of well earned beers along w/ some dinner - cheers!


9/10:  3 x 1-mile @ 5:58, 5:55, 5:51 w/ 1-minute breaks.  Ave/max HR:  155/162, 161/166, 164/167.  With warm up and cool down, total for the day was 6-miles.


Paul said...

Nice miles for 60 second rest intervals.

I'm planning on running a 5K on 9/20 to see where I am.

Do you have any races planned?

Mike said...

Well done on feeling good throughout the workout, Mike.

I'm sure the weather helped, but there's no doubt you're making some big gains.

Mike said...

Thanks guys.

Paul - I've got nothing officially planned right now, but I'm looking for a 5k in November, probably another one in January and then one in March. I'll then be running some early track events in the April time frame ahead of the Spring-Summer season.