Saturday, March 1, 2014

Old Workouts, New Pace(r)s, and New Balance

No, not LSD speed.
But other than missing a tempo workout at the beginning of the month and a long run, I've been 90% consistent with getting my workouts in. A lot more on the treadmill than I would prefer, but at least they are happening. And I do have to testify to doing speedwork on the treadmill. I am notorious for going out too fast in workouts and then blowing up. I don't do it in races, but usually I have to save race during a workout and ease up two-thirds in. But there is definitely more of a science to the treadmill speed workout - you can be more precise. Yes, it's from an external machine and not myself, but it prevents (a degree of) stupidity and brazen behavior.
A couple of highlights and lowlights:
My apartment complex gym has 3 treadmills - I've never had to fight for one but all were occupied. I ended up doing my warmup outside around the complex. I came back in, and all were still being used, including a guy wearing Vibrams and walking holding a book. Grr. I ended up doing some core work on a mat while waiting for a spot to open up. Finally, I was able to get on one and did 5 x 1 k starting at 6:27 pace and working my way down to 6:11 pace. When I finished, the person next to me said, "Dang!" Yes, there was a reason I was clamoring for the treadmill! Was so hot and sweaty that I did my cooldown outside in a tanktop - to be fair, it was 48 outside. But with the snow on the ground, I must've looked ridiculous.
I also did a 6 mile cutdown workout during the Olympics on the treadmill and averaged 7:02 pace. Cross-country skiing was motivating enough to keep me going. 
This week was the crazy continuous 800s, arguably one of the most challenging workouts, but with the biggest rewards. 2.5 mile warm-up, continuous 1.5 mile with 800s at 3:17, 3:07, 3:17, 1/2 mile easy, then continuous 1.5 with 800s at 3:07, 3:17, 3:07, 1/2 mile easy, 2 x 800 3:06, 3:03, 2.5 mile cooldown.  I remember drawing on this workout at the end of the Army Ten Miler last year, when I was able to change gears in the last mile or so to clinch my PR.
Today was a 7 mile tempo cutdown, starting at 7:13 pace and worked my down to 6:27 pace, averaging 6:57 pace. No TV to occupy me, just the determination to get it done!
All of these have been going well - it just feels good to be really consistent with running. Even without big or many races on the horizon (a 5 miler in 2 weeks), it just feels good to get in great training and think about how it benefits long term.
And that's what matters - thinking about the picture. I've been working with Sarah for 4+ years now, and now, the schedules are tweaked just so and while there will be slight changes in the paces, but we've figured out what works and are sticking with it!
But in the name of progress, I am delighted to join the ranks of the Pacers Racing Team! Pacers, which has six great stores in the greater DC area, sponsors a major racing series each year, and has a racing team. They have a few different divisions, such as a National team that includes Olympic Marathon Trial qualifiers and top finishers at USA Championships, the regional division (that's the one Sarah is on), and the local team - and that's what I'll be on. It is actually the Pacers/New Balance team, which means they'll equip me with some new shoes and a racing uniform. 
I'll be matched up with some people who run at similar paces and will be able to participate in some of their group runs. On the elite level, the best do well when they train in groups. I'm just looking forward to experiencing that on a much smaller level. 
Now for March madness of all kinds to begin!

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