Thursday, March 12, 2009

Track Workout: Intervals

I find it amusing that I should read this post on intervals over at Half-Fast the day before my first interval track workout. I flirted with intervals once before, just after I had finished C25K, but it never went anywhere. During my half marathon training, we had the option of doing track work on Thursday mornings but I lived too far away then to get up early enough to be there by 4:45 am. Now that I am less than 5 miles away, I figured I'd give it a try. It went pretty well and getting up at 4 am to do this wasn't too bad, but I may opt to do this workout on Wednesday nights with the WRAP program instead, since they meet at a track within walking distance from my apartment.

So on to the workout ...

6-8 x 400 @ 5k pace
200 recovery walk or slow jog between each 400
1 or 2 sets with a 3 minute recovery after the 1st set

Since my millage has been low lately, and my pace slowish, because of the knee/foot issues I had after the half marathon on 2/8, I didn't want to push it too much, so I opted for just one set of 6. The knee felt fine, but better safe than sorry.

Warm up:
nice and easy 1 mile in 13:05 without walking.

I ran the first 2 intervals using the track as my measurement, but it was dark and I was confused as to where the halfway point was for the recovery walk, so after 2 intervals I decided to set my watch to do .25 mile / .13 mile intervals. This ensured I ran a consistent distance for each interval for better comparison, and that I wouldn't have to worry about where on the track to run or walk.

Here are my times for each run interval:

time / pace / distance
2:39 / 9:23 / .28
2:26 / 9:26 / .26
2:19 / 9:08 / .25
2:15 / 8:58 / .25
2:11 / 8:43 / .25
2:11 / 8:44 / .25

Cool down:
After the 6th interval, I walked for a bit then jogged 1/2 a mile at an 11:53 pace, then walked one last lap for good measure. My right knee and thigh felt a little tight, but no real pain to speak of. Including the warm up and cool down, I ran 3.7 miles in 43:55 for an average 11:52 pace.

Except for the 1st 2 intervals, I'm ecstatic to see these negative splits, and the 1st 2 intervals I attribute to the confusion. These times/pace seem really fast to me. I do not run sub-10 5Ks, and certainly not sub-9, but I didn't feel like I was exerting myself that much.

Maybe I am supposed to average a 5K pace when you include the recover jog/walks? If so, then I need to walk/jog faster, or the more likely reason is that I simply do not push myself enough at races. It could also be the effects of my bike and swim cross training coming throuhg.

Either way, I am very happy with this workout and look forward to the next one. I know what you are all thinking, that I am crazy for wanting another date with intervals, but we're still in the honeymoon stage of our relationship. Give it time ;)

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