Saturday, May 5, 2012

I'll make a miler out of you

(you have to be hearing the Mulan song while reading this)
I wasn't kidding - within 6 hours of my 10k on Sunday, I had a plan from Sarah about my next race.  It's like a riddle, it's not a 5k, it's not a marathon, and it's not anything in between.  It's not an ultra, it's not a mud race.
It's a mile!  My next race will a 1 mile track race on June 7th.  I have never raced a mile before, nor have I ever done a track race.  So, the next month is devoted to speed work, real speed work of 200s, 300s, 400s.  This is going to be completely different from any other kind of race or training that I've ever done.  It is my goal to go under 6 minutes, but maybe more like 5:55.  It will be my last formal race of the spring, and the shift in training will allow me to harness all of the fitness I've put in over the last 16 weeks, and shift into speed for 5 more weeks.
So, my new best friend is going to be the track.  Instead of 1 track workout a week plus a road speed workout, I will now be doing 2 track workouts a week, plus a road workout.  Instead of 12 mile long runs on the weekend, I'll probably max out at 8 or 9 miles for the long run.  In sum, less mileage, more intervals and much more faster intervals.
Tuesday's workout was my first test case.  2.5 mile warm up, which is usually preceded by mile repeats or something, but not on Tuesday.  8 x 300m with 200-300m jog between each.  Well, that was a different kind of workout!  65 (whoops), 71, 69, 68, 67, 65, 63, 62 for the 300s, and I jogged 200m for the first 4 and then 300m for the second 4 as recovery.  That was hard and at 250m for the last few I really had to work to keep going in the final 50.  Obviously, that first one was too fast, but then I was able to be a bit more consistent with them.  My quads were still a little sore from Sunday, which I'm sure between the effort and the rolling hills on Sunday, is to be expected.  This was a completely different bag!  Instead of easing into workouts starting at 6:55 pace, these workouts will be starting close to 6 minute pace.  These were all hard!
Thursday's workout was an 8 mile run with 8 x 60 second fartleks thrown in - not too hard, but it is definitely a different feel to incorporate some semblance of speed every other day.
Today, Saturday (Happy Cinco de Mayo!) was a mile trial at the American University Track.  Sarah was going to pace me through it and the goal was to break 6 minutes and get a good handle where my fitness is at with just over a month to go until my mile race.  So, we did a 2.5 mile warm up to the track.    It was about 70 and very humid, so I was already pretty hot and certainly warmed up.  She had me do 2 x 200 to get the legs moving, which I did in 43 and 45 seconds, while she did a 1200m .  I was a little nervous, because I knew that the was about the pace I would be running the mile, and had some doubts about my ability to keep that pace up for the whole time.  Sarah was going to run just slightly in front of me, timing me, and calling out splits.  We toed the line, ready to go, and I knew that Sarah would do a good job running even splits (that was my biggest concern - that I would go out too fast for the first lap).  And without a bang or shouting command, we were off.  The pace felt great - not like I was trying to sprint around the track.  88 for the first lap (including the 8 meters added in to make it a full mile, not a 1600) and I felt like I was in a groove.  2:56 after lap 2 and I was feeling good - time to hang on for that infamous 3rd/penultimate lap.  This one was much harder, but I was holding on and just watching Sarah has run 36:xx for the 10k, and is just very fast (she ran for Duke in college), so watching her run was good - because this was a comfortable pace for her, and she looked smooth.  While I didn't look smooth, it was easier to at least relax a little, rather than running beside someone else who was gasping, swinging, and fighting to hold on.  4:26 for lap 3.  (invisible bell clanging-bell lap)  Unlike our 5k track race simulation in the fall, which felt like I was being dragged around the track for 13 laps, I felt like I was in  more control.  I hung on, and finally crossed the finish - and phew!  I caught my breath and Sarah revealed my mile trial time...
Wow!  That was a lot faster than I thought I could run, and actually the goal time for my race in June!  She was very pleased with the effort, as was I.  And we both think that with a good month of training, I should actually aim for 5:49 in June.  We did a 4 mile easy run in the woods (very fun - nice and cool, and a pretty run), which helped shake out/ shake off the mile a bit.  I am very stoked about the time trial, and what it means for my actual race in June.
Track at American University
So, with that (and a 9 mile "long run" tomorrow), week 1 of mile training is in the books.  Looking forward to see how all of this training plays out!

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