Saturday, March 01, 2014

Volume Repeats

I do have a set of speed workouts that I learned when I was coached 3 years ago, and I do dig them up whenever I am in a build phase. One feature of MC's workouts were the tempo runs where you alternated a few pretty damn fast segments with recover parts that were still reasonably fast. Recovery is a relative concept in those runs, but I find those kind of workouts do work exceedingly well for me.

Traditionally runners do their speed workouts on Tuesday and Thursday in any given week, but I preferred to have 2 recovery days after Tuesday, and I generally don't care much for tradition in any shape or form anyway, so I did my second fast workout of the week on Friday instead.

To be honest I didn't even expect to be able to do it. I just programmed the Garmin the night before with the workout and resolved to see how far I would make it.

I wasn't actually dreading the workout, but I was a bit apprehensive all the same. The idea was to run a few 2-mile segments at 6:30, 6:20 and 6:10 pace, with 1 mile at 7:15 pace as recovery. In the unlikely case that I felt ready for more I would do another 2 mile segment at 6:10 pace.

It was a bit windy on Friday morning and I resolved not to kill myself by trying to hit the exact pace and rather run in a controlled and relaxed manner rather than concentrate on pace. The 6:30 segment felt easy enough, except that it ended in a hill where I lost some speed, which resulted in a slightly slower average pace than planned. I found it quite hard to tune into 7:15 because the change in pace had disrupted my rhythm. The 6:20 segment was much more challenging and I had to work fairly hard. I knew I would be able to do it but couldn't see myself running even faster on even further fatigued legs later on. Again, 7:15 pace in the recovery interval felt a bit strange.

I did not expect to get anywhere near the target pace for the third segment, especially so as it was net uphill and into the wind. I just started running pretty damn hard and initially didn't take any notice of the watch. It was only in the later part that I realised that actually I was pretty much on pace, but it sure was hard work and felt more like a race effort. The relief when I was finally able to relax and fall back to 7:15 pace was palpable, but by this point 7:15 felt like slow crawling. I recovered surprisingly quickly and resolved to indeed add a fourth segment. I started running pretty hard again but when I eventually checked the watch realised that I was doing 6:00 pace rather than 6:10 and resolved to leave it after one mile in order not to overdo it.

I was pretty chuffed with the workout. I think the main benefit is psychologically, though. I am able to run faster than I thought, and now I know it myself.

26 Feb
10 miles, 1:16:20, 7:38 pace, HR 145
27 Feb
10 miles, 1:15:49, 7:35 pace, HR 144
28 Feb
12+ miles, 1:21:31, 6:45 pace, HR 158
   1 mile w/u, 2 miles @ 6:33 (HR 153), 1 mile @ 7:16 (144), 2 miles @ 6:21 (160), 1 mile @ 7:15 (150), 2 miles @ 6:08 (166), 1 mile @ 7:12 (156), 1 mile @ 6:00 (165), 1 mile c/d
28 Feb
10 miles, 1:15:58, 6:36 pace, HR 143

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