So Mike, you said you wanted to train for middle distance, eh? Not content to just get into decent shape, run some 5ks/10ks, have a good time and all that jazz. No no, I decided I wanted to train hard and fast in some attempt to perhaps "see what I could have been" in the world of middle distance. Well Mr. Forty year old pretending to be 25, be careful what you wish for!
I knew some tougher stuff was coming down the pike, I just didn't envision this level of pain coming so soon. . . .
I had my weekly talk w/ JT (coach) today where I was to receive my instructions for Wednesday's speed session. The session, 10 x 300m w/ 1-minute breaks (walk back to the start) starting at about 54-seconds ramping down to 48. OK, that's going to be tough - that's the same pace as last week's 12 x 200m. However the rests are shorter this time (1-min vs 80-seconds) and the total distance is 3km instead of 2.4km . . . and last week the workout was broken down into 3-sets where I got some extra rest in between. Maybe it's a lot tougher than last week. Still, I think I can manage.
At that point she asks me, "do you want your workout for Saturday now or do you want to wait?" This didn't sound good, but if she had the workout mapped out already no sense in waiting - might as well give me the news now. Or conversation then went as follows:
Me: "yeah, if you've got it. What is it?"
JT: "I was going to do a short hill session again, but I want to start getting you into some longer intervals. Wednesday's the short intervals and we'll do the longer ones on Saturday."
(we had previously discussed that we were going to transition from primarily hills to a mix of hills, short intervals and long intervals for a while until the hills were finished)
JT: "So it's going to be 800m - Mile - 800m - 400m - 400m. After your warm up do 2 x 200m as a long stride to get your legs ready to run."
Me: "How fast do you want the 200s?"
JT: "35, maybe 33. Then jog 100m and walk 100m back to the start. Get a good rest in between. After that you can take 5-7 minutes to stretch again before hitting the workout."
Me: "OK, what about paces for the workout and rest times and all that?"
JT: "First 800m in 2:34-2:36, Mile in 5:15, next 800m . . ."
Me: "Five what??"
Me: "The mile. Five what??"
JT: "5:15. The next 800m in 2:34-2:36, and the 400s in 75-77."
Me: "And rests in between?"
JT: "Between the first 8 and the mile, 3-minutes. Between the mile and the second 8, 3-minutes. After the second 8, 2-minutes. Then 90-seconds between the 400s."
At this point I was trying to get my head around what I'd just heard and I couldn't seem to get past that mile. This wasn't some, "hey run a few short reps and then at the end give an all out effort to get a mile done". No this was, "ho-hum, go throw a 5:15 mile up there in the middle of a workout, right between two quick half-miles - and w/ minimal rest. And oh btw - you've also got two 400s and two 200s to do on the ends."
Typically I'm ahead of the paces she gives on most workouts, and I saw no problem hitting the 800m paces, but extending that pace out to a mile, in the middle of a workout - I don't know. We talked about it some. She understands that even though we haven't really done any speed work yet, my speed is still way ahead of my endurance so holding interval pace for that long would be much more difficult for me than if my endurance were up - but she thinks it's something I can do. We settled on 5:15-5:20, and I told her I'd do my best.
Problem now is that this mile is all I can think about - but I've got that 10 x 300m workout coming up in 2-days. And now matter how you slice and dice up that workout, it still amounts to 3000m at 4:32 mile pace!! (and that's the EASY workout) My head better be screwed on straight for that one or I won't get through it properly.
I'm starting to understand a conversation I had w/ JT a month or two ago where we were talking about something related to running decent times at an advanced age and she mentioned that she had just set a PR in the 5k. (not that it was ever her event, but she's somewhere in the low 16s at I think 37yo) And I asked her if she could still make a run at her 800m and 1500m PRs. Her response - "oh no, I just train for fun now. Middle distance training is really hard."
I'm beginning to wonder how hard is "too hard" for me.