Saturday, December 6, 2008

Beast of a Workout

Today was the day I was thinking about all week.  The big one.  The toughest workout I'd done in 22 years.  Yeah it sucks to be that old!

On tap - intervals from Hell.  After a mile warm up, 2 x 200m at about 34-second pace.  Then - 800m (2:34-2:36), 3-min rest, Mile (5:15-5:20), 4-min rest, 800m (2:34-2:36), 2-min rest, 400m (75), 90-second rest, 400m (75)

After trying to visualize how I was going to get through this one during the week, the following plan came together:  Cruise thru the 200s w/ little to no effort.  Use the 800m as a practice for the first 2-laps of the mile (i.e. try to hit them in 77-79).  Then put in whatever was required to hit the mile even if it meant leaving me dead in the water for the rest of the workout - hit that damn mile.  Target:  (77-79-79-78)  That's a 5:13 so it gave me a few seconds to play with.  After that, if I was to hit the mile I knew I'd be amped up so go SLOW during the first quarter of the subsequent 800m leaving me enough in the tank to get through it.  (I figured if I hit the target for the mile I'd probably rocket out to start the next 800m and that would NOT be a good thing so keep it under control)  And in regards to the 400s - even though the rest lengths were getting VERY short, I figured I'd be fine even if I had nothing left.  All that lifting and all those hills would carry me there w/ no issues, even if I was dead tired and could no longer breathe.  That's what all that time in the gym was for!

After the warm up mile and a few drills I approached the start of the first 200m - "remember, no effort just some strides to loosen up."  First one in 34 seconds very very easy.  Good.  Jogged back around to the start and then I got what I was looking for on #2, a nice smooth run that seemed more like an easy stroll in the park.  32-seconds.  Perfect - I was ready.

I hit the first speed bump on 800m #1 when the first lap came in at 74.  Damn, that's too fast.  I slowed down on lap #2 to hit the 2:36 I was looking for, but since I didn't hit the appropriate splits my "practice" for the mile was blown.  Now I'd have to adjust on the fly and hope for the best.

JT wanted close to even splits for this mile - that was very important.  Typically when running a mile I just hammer the first lap, try to hold on for the middle two laps and then give whatever I've got left on lap #4, but not today.  This wasn't a race, just an interval in the middle of a workout.  She wanted it nice and even as that would mean I would have to continually increase my effort as the laps passed to maintain the pace (as opposed to banking seconds early and then letting up)

I got to the starting line and waited as the last 10-seconds of the 3-minute rest expired.  I remember telling myself, "this is what you've been waiting for all week . . . "  I never finished the thought.  

I purposely slowed myself down after the first turn because I knew I was too fast.  Everything felt nice and relaxed.  First lap 76-seconds.  One second faster than the target - that's fine, no need to adjust.  Second lap was 80-seconds, one second slow - but this put my first half mile at 2:36 which was right on target.  Onto lap #3.  I wasn't slowing much, but ideally I shouldn't be slowing at all.  About 150m into lap #3 I tried to pick up the pace and much to my surprise I had no problems doing so.  Lap #3 - 79, giving me a 3/4-mile split of 3:55 - exactly on pace.  I just needed a final lap of 80 to hit my 5:15, but I knew I was OK enough to do better than that - I was sure I'd hit the 78 to finish up.  With 200m to go I reminded myself that I've still got almost half a workout to go and that kept the finish under wraps.  As expected I closed w/ a 78 quarter giving me a 2nd half mile of 2:37 (to go w/ my 2:36 first half) for a total of 5:13, and I had done it w/ almost even splits. Mission accomplished.

Here's where I made the biggest mistake of the workout.  I knew I was amped up over that mile, and I feared I'd go out too fast on the next 800m. . . . so in my infinite wisdom I decided to cut my rest SHORT following the mile (to 3-minutes) hoping that would keep me from going out too fast.  Well that backfired because even w/ just 3-minutes I still went out in 73 (WAY too fast) and now because of the short rest I completely hung myself out to dry on that 2nd quarter.  I finished in 2:37 so only 1-second slow, but the 73-84 split was really stupid.  I'll try not to make that mistake again, but I know I will.

At this point I was pretty gassed.  Two 400s left at 5-flat pace.  Thankfully, my assumption that my gym/hill work would take care of this part of the workout was on target.  I was dead tired, but my legs had no such issues.  I hit the 200m mark in 34-seconds and cruised home on both reps giving me times of 72 and then 71 to finish up.  

All totaled the workout covered 4.4km (not counting warm up and cool down) at an average pace of 5:06.  I've never done that kind of volume at that kind of speed before.  And I have no idea how I'll feel when I wake up tomorrow.  

As I review the workout a few things jump out:  #1  the splits on both 800m were poor - out too fast both times.  Something to keep in mind.  #2 the mile was almost perfect, and that was really my main focus today so that was good.  #3  I could have dialed up high 60-second quarters to finish up if I wanted to even though I was running on empty.  I wasn't exactly surprised by this, but it does tell me to keep doing what I'm doing in regards to building power in the legs.  (plyos will be coming soon) The more power I can generate, the more I can use speed to overcome my cardio/fitness shortcomings until I get a few years of mileage under my belt to minimize that weakness.

JT's comments upon hearing the results:  "See, you can run a mile.  Now I can really have fun w/ the workouts!"

Can't wait to see what's next.


Thurs, 12/4:  5-miles easy
                     lifting (upper-A, abs)  stretching rolling

Fri, 12/5:  5-miles easy

Sat, 12/6:  5-miles including 2 x 200m (34,32), 800m (2:36), mile (5:13), 800m (2:37), 400m (72), 400m (71)


Ewen said...

Good! You did well with that workout - surprisingly well. Great pacing on the mile.

Do you have any races coming up, or is it all training until the track season?

Mike said...

I'm sure I'll have a 5k or two before track season, but probably not until Spring.

I've got a call w/ coach today, and I'll be asking her about the schedule going forward. I don't think I'll be doing reps/intervals twice a week all the way through July-August so I'm interested to get a high level overview of the next few months. Perhaps some races will be included.

BTW - here's the site I promised:

It doesn't really give workouts, just discusses how Coe and his father believed running workouts at 5k pace (5 x 1000m for example) was great for building endurance for middle distance runners - all but eliminating the need for high mileage in their opinion.

(yea the article must be old as it still lists Coe as the record holder in the 800m, but the training info is accurate)

Turns out Coe could have run about a 13:20 5k!! Amazing.

Grellan said...

I knew you'd do it - well done! You made it sound easier than it probably was.

Michael said...

Niec weekend workout, well done!