Greater than 14,000 meters

I love the track. I love the controlled environment, the splits, the mindless repetition. I love the feel of smooth surface beneath my feet, the quickness of my cadence, the level ground. I love the bold white finish line and counting down the turns. I am in my element out there.

But for some reason, this season, I’ve been avoiding it. I’ve gone out there a few times, like when 5×600 repeats were on my schedule, but when it came to doing anything longer, I resorted to the trails. Maybe it was because my standby training partner is in her element on the trails. I’m easily convinced to change, especially if it means I have someone to chase after. And its not like change is a bad thing. Running on trails is lower impact and more neurologically challenging than running in circles over and over.

But this week, I knew I needed to find my interval nirvana. And I had a craving for something big, something that would take a lot of determination to get through. I modified my training plan from 5x600s to 10km worth of repeats. Add in the rest intervals, and my total distance racked up to over 14,000meters. 14,300 to be exact. While not the most epic or difficult set of repeats known to (wo)man, it was the biggest set I’ve done all season. And I was reveling in it.

I invited a few friends, and we met at a newly redesigned high school track. Up here, where the tracks get plowed by snow removal trucks starting in March, there is no such thing as a rubberized track. Just a smooth, crackless, even asphalt oval. And I think its absolutely beautiful.

We settled into our 10K paces for the first part of the main set, 5x800s. I was a little fast on the first two, but pulled back on the reins to avoid disaster later. We caught up with each other on the rest interval between (easy jog 400) before taking off as soon as we crossed the start line again. The 800s flew by. I almost wished I had made the workout 10x everything… maybe next time.

The 400s made my mind focus, but I couldn’t keep track of how many we’d done. Run a 400, jog a 200, run a 400, jog a 200, and it took me a while to grasp that odds were on the start line, evens were starting at the 200m mark. But I was focusing in my form, how my feet felt when they hit the ground. Where my knees were, where my hands were. I was focusing on my breathing, and I was focusing on holding back. Don’t chase the boys, I thought, just run your paces.

Louisa spectating after her long run

Regrouping was the best part. The guys would walk until I caught up, and we’d jog until the start line, and then we’d funnel into a line as we took off. It didn’t need guiding, everyone knew what we needed to be doing.

I’d finish the same distance behind the boys each time, comfortable with my pace and trying hard not to kick it in on the windless home stretch. The back stretch was windy, though, and I started sticking with Jesse on the first turn to be protected from the wind.

The 200s breezed by. Run a 200, jog a 100. Less rest, and unintentionally faster paced. I upped the anty, worrying less about my 10K time and focusing more on my ability to stay in control of my form, fast on my feet, and light. My legs wanted to burn it up, but I held back until the last five.

Two and a half hrs and two bottles of Kola/BananaNuun, and I was headed home. That was faster than I thought it would be. I was expecting 3 hours, pain, crying, maybe puking, definitely whining. I heard none of that. I didn’t dole out any of it. It was a piece of cake (ok, maybe not exactly), and my legs weren’t even trashed afterward. I was actually itching for more.

I didn’t do more, of course. I simply went home and made a protein shake. Seven more days of quality. Intensity. Recovery.  Then it’s time to taper for Rev3 Cedar Point.

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About megankillian

Assistant Professor of Biomedical Engineering at the University of Delaware. I love biomechanics!

Posted on August 24, 2010, in Ironman training, recovery, running, training, triathlon. Bookmark the permalink. 3 Comments.

  1. As I write these questions I’m beginning to think I don’t actually want to know the answers but here we go –

    What pace are you running when you run?

    What pace is your “jogging” pace?

    Is it the intent to elevate your HR then to bring it down, then up again? If so, I assume you wear a HRM and review your results while drinking the shake.

    Oh, you must answer in the form of a question (like on Jeopardy).

    All the best,

    Ron

    • My “on” pace was my 10K race pace, so for the 800s I was hitting 3:05-3:15, for the 400s I was hitting 1:30-1:37, and for the 200s I was under 0:45 for all of them. I didn’t pay attention to my jogging pace, but I think I was able to start the 800s on the 5.5min, so it was probably around 10 min miles?

      And, I don’t train with a HRM. Bad, I know. The intent is to build lactate threshold, by running 10K worth of intervals at your goal 10K pace (or your previously fastest 10K pace) but with rolling distance in between. The rest intervals give your body some more “time in”- but the trick is to run conservatively at the beginning (and not just blast through the 800s at your fastest pace) in order to run solid 200s. Next time, I am going to extend this workout… probably not before Cedar Point, though 🙂

  2. Thank you. I need to add these type of workouts to my schedule.

    All the best,

    Ron

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