Ah, this quote. The exacting, scientific side of me, which tends to overrule the feeling side of me, recognizes the truth in this quote. But that hidden feeling side of me realizes just how untrue this quote is. Have you ever been at mile 22 of a marathon? I swear it’s longer than mile 4. Running an uphill mile? Definitely longer than a downhill mile. And those miles run with friends? They must be shorter than mile repeats.
Where am I going with this, you ask?
Well, I did some speed work today. I couldn’t tell you the last time I headed out with fast running in mind. Early 2014 at the latest, I assume. (Thank you, triathlon training.) But with plans for a May marathon, I need to start to push myself. Coming off of working six out of the last seven days (and some wine last night), I wanted to do some speed work tomorrow. However, NYC is calling for some more snow tonight/tomorrow, and the road conditions might not be ideal for speed work. Alright, I’ll do it today.
I’m not sure what the best workout is to do when you haven’t pushed the pace in awhile, but I figured three miles at tempo-ish pace would be a good start. Of course, I’m not entirely sure what tempo pace is these days…I ran a half marathon a few weeks ago at 7:30 pace, and that was rough but doable. My marathon PR is at 7:35 pace, soooooo there’s a bit of a discrepancy in what shape I was in then versus now. I figured three miles at 7:00 pace would be a good start.
I headed out to Central Park for a two mile warm-up…but my watch beeped at two miles right at the bottom of Cat Hill, and I’m smart enough to realize that kicking of speed training by running up a hill probably isn’t good for anyone. So up the hill I went, then I got ready to get to work.
Not quite sure what 7:00 pace feels like, I took off at a comfortably fast pace and then stared at my watch for the next third of mile. For the record, time and distance definitely seem to slow down when you glue your eyes to your watch. The pace felt fast yet manageable, and I knew there was some downhill ahead – music to my ears! The first mile clicked off in 6:51, possibly too fast but it was downhill!
This is where I get into my head. After the downhill and some flat, the west side hills kick in. Even though I’m not a terrible hill runner, running hills at fast pace kills my mental game. Seriously, it’s the worst. Since I knew what was coming, I was tried to trick myself. Singing a song. Counting my steps…trying to figure out how many steps I had left to take (don’t play that game, it’s a large number). I finished the second mile up a hill and felt my heart pounding and my breathing getting labored…and I freaked myself out. The second mile finished in 6:47 (oops?), and I hit STOP on my watch.
I proceeded to cough for a minute straight because I most definitely have a nervous cough…and I haven’t run that fast in awhile. Then I got mad at myself for not pushing through and running another tempo mile. Maybe I this wasn’t the best workout to start with. Maybe two miles at sub-7 pace isn’t so bad after all. I’m not sure which is the right answer.
After getting over myself (or thinking about it the rest of the run), I shuffled the two-ish miles back home as a cool down. Of course, what feels like a shuffle after running some fast paces isn’t actually a shuffle at all – still sub-8. Oops.
I suppose not too shabby for my first day of speed work, but I definitely need some work…and certainly in the mental game as well.
on the strength training front
I did Jillian Michael’s when I got home, and some of the moves never seem to get easier! If anyone has tips for the chair pose chest fly, please let me know. This is what Jillian looks like while doing it:
And I will spare you what I look while trying the move, mainly because I don’t want anyone to see me workout. (Ask Eric, I make him stay in the other room.) I can hold chair pose just fine in yoga, but add in that chest fly and my arms might as well fall off. At least I know I have something to work on.
I don’t feel like I’ve mastered week 1 yet, but I’m going to try the Week 2 workout next to mix it up a little. It’ll be a step up, but I’m looking forward to doing so.
Any recommendations for speed work after months of easy running? What are your favorite speed workouts? I’ve got the endurance thing down, I just need to pick up the pace.