Tuesday, February 9, 2010


Just as I thought: threshold runs aren't as fun as they were last week.  'Course, a half inch of newly fallen snow covering some icy spots can make for some dicey running, but still.  There is a big difference between targeting 7:40 pace and cruising at 7:35 verse targeting 7:20 and having a hard time maintaining 7:25.

Sure, terrain has something to do with it.  And it may have been easier to keep to the 7:20 pace had I been wearing my racing flats, like I was during the race.  But still, tempo runs may be one of my favorite workouts, and even moreso when I can slack a little.

But then they won't do as much good, and a point of this is to explore what the body can do when some discipline is exerted, right?  A guiding rule for me in my training is let the easy runs be easy, but be sure the hard runs are hard.

Today's workout was supposed to be two mile warm up, 20 minutes a 7:20 pace, 10 minute rest, another 20 minutes at 7:20, and then a two mile cool down.  My first interval was a 7:20, and my second was at 7:26.

Six seconds per mile isn't a lot.  Less than 18 seconds difference over the 20 minutes, although that idea really makes no sense at all.

On the other hand, I had run the race on Sunday six seconds per mile faster, I would have squeaked out a #5 spot, rather than #7, and would have gone home with a really cool beer stein. Six seconds can mean the difference between almost failing, and almost succeeding.  Six isn't a lot, but it means something.  And what it means is that I think I'd be a little bit happier if I chose to work a little harder.

I'll let you know how that works out.  :)


Jules said...

Honestly, I stand in awe of those who are so tuned in to their pace that they can vary speeds just enough to make such incremental differences. Even if you're using a Garmin, you still have to know how fast you're running - Garmin just confirms.

Me, I'm still at the point where I don't sweat the seconds, or really even the minutes...I'm working more on stamina and taking on the hills without worrying about time. IOW, it's all about just getting across that finish line in one piece. ;-)

Hopefully, speedwork will someday be something I can seriously entertain rather than admire from afar.

Fritz said...

All it takes is time and experience... I've only been taking speedwork seriously for a couple of years now. As I've done more races, though, I've become a lot more atuned to what pace I'm running.

Speed work is kind of redline work- great for you, but during which it a lot easier to get injured...