Tuesday, March 24, 2009

The Return of LIH (Long Interval Hell)

How can you tell when Spring has sprung out here in sunny CA. . . . . more precisely in Cupertino, CA . . . at the community college . . . near the track??  Well, it must be when that old guy is out there looking like he's about to die!!

The target workout: 

1-mile (5:20 pace - slightly slower than interval pace as it's my first session)  4.5-min rest
1200m (5:16 pace)  3-min rest
800m (5:12 pace)  2.5 min rest
400m (5:00 pace)

Unfortunately, I didn't do such a good job sticking to the target.  The focus of the workout was supposed to be the 1200m and 800m.  The mile was strictly there for pre-fatigue.  My plan for the mile was to run the quarters in (77-80-80-79) which would give me a few seconds to play with.  

Being that I haven't done anything faster than the cruise intervals to this point, I figured I'd need to make sure I didn't get comfortable and go out too slow, so that was my thinking as I started off.  In hindsight, I should have checked my split at 200m to monitor my pace, but I tried to run the first lap on feel and make any necessary adjustments after 400m.  Big mistake - when I came through the quarter I was shocked as hell to see a split of 67.  "Geez, that's nuts - I have to slow down".  Of course I didn't want to just go in the tank on the 2nd lap, but I made sure I slowed some.  

Second lap in 77, which put me at 2:24 at the half.  At this point I was sure I heard someone laughing. . . it was me.  I couldn't believe I was blowing the workout this badly - no way I'm going to get this whole workout in after this.  I thought about cutting this rep at 1200m to leave more in the tank, but decided against it.  Yes I probably blew it, but just slow down and do your best to do as much of the workout as you can, I figured.  3:47 at 1200m - I didn't feel that bad, but I knew I absolutely had to slow down - not only had I probably blown the workout, but the way these quarter splits were forced to come in after the first lap made even this mile a huge disappointment.  I finished up in 5:08 - nice time, lousy splits - and way off target.

Now the hard part - trying to come back w/ similar paced runs only minutes later.  For the 1200m lap #1 came in at a solid 74, but soon after I was really feeling it.  I couldn't shake a 5:08 mile that quickly.  Decision time - start slowing and do the 1200m or shorten the rep.  I decided to keep the correct pace and cut this rep at 800m.  No way I was going to be able to hit pace for the full 1200.  800m in 2:34.  

I was OK for the rest of the workout:  800m #2 in 2:35, and then to get back some measure of respectability I lengthened the final rep from 400m to 600m - 1:52 (on target pace of 5:00)

Overall - not a very good workout.  The mile was way too fast early which led to terrible splits and compromised the rest of the workout.  The 1200m which was supposed to be the focus of the workout needed to be sacrificed because I instead made the mile the focus.  However, I will give myself some credit for pulling it together and running the last two intervals well.

The good news (or bad news depending on how I look at it) is that I'm going to be doing a lot more LI workouts during this build - and now that I understand my current capabilities a little better, I should be a better judge of pace going forward.  

After the workout I headed to the gym for a heavy lifting session on legs, core and abs.  (I figure if I'm going to be sore, I better get it all in one shot)  I'm pretty dead right now and I'd imagine I should have no trouble sleeping tonight.


Mon, 3/23:  off (scheduled)

Tues, 3/24:  4.5 miles including, 1-mile (5:08), 800m (2:34), 800m (2:35), 600m (1:52)
PM  lifting (legs, abs, core)  stretching, rolling


Grellan said...

Long intevals are tough enough without going out fast on the first rep. Good recovery. I was on the long(ish) intervals yesterday also (6 x 1000m) takes some getting used to.


How do your times compare with last year!

Michael said...

Nice workout despite going out too fast on the first mile, all this will give you something to build on the next time you’re out there. Your training looks like good fun, once I’m done with the marathon training I’ll have to give your track sessions a go. Keep it up!

Mike said...

Grellan - boy you got that right! They're supposed to get faster as you go - going out too fast on rep #1 really makes for a tough day. I'll try to be more disciplined in the future.

Rick - I don't really have a "last year" to compare to. I started running in Sep-07, but unfortunately being new I took some poor advice on shoes (more stability when I needed straight neutral) I wound up w/ a serious ITB injury by Feb-08 and was essentially out of action until June. So the '08 season was washed away.

Michael - yeah these workouts can be fun. Personally I prefer the shorter faster intervals (repeat 300s or 400s) but these longer ones are really what I need to build strength for the 800m - 1500m races. I'll be doing these longer ones for a good two months. (this is the painful part of the build)

Ewen said...

Yes Mike, bit of a stuff-up there. Having such great speed is your 'problem'. Wish I had that problem!

I'd be looking at the watch at the 100m mark of future workouts (and the 200)... or else warm-up with a number of 50m strides at goal 1st rep pace to get a feel for it.

Better luck with the next one!