Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Pretending to be fast

Apparently endorphins take some time to wear off. Over 2 hours post today's track workout, I am still running (in my head) with juvenile excitement. The running-in-my-head part is nothing new, but the track workout part definitely is.

You see, I specialize in running far, not running fast. Or at least I say that because I have never really tried to run fast and so I assume that I would probably be slow. By fast I mean 1mile or 5k sprint type stuff. I don't normally warm up and ease into the rhythm of my run until roughly mile 5, so shorter distances have been tricky for me. My 10k PR (when I still ran 10k races) of 49 minutes is, well, 49 minutes. Just under 8:00 miles. Interpret as you wish.

Anyway, back to those endorphins. I have not run on a track in a very long time. I've been meaning to, because I think there is something strangely soothing about running around in 0.25mile circles. It's free but yet you're running in a very controlled environment, if you know what I mean. It lends itself well to making each lap completely different from the last, instilling color in an otherwise bland setting.

Except when I find myself on a track, I tend to do just what I would do on a road or trail - I start running and keep going. I always intend to inject some pace/drill variety, but it rarely happens, or at least I fail to go truly hard or truly easy and get stuck in a medium/hard effort rut.

So, I finally convinced myself to go to the LA Running Club's Wednesday night track workout. Being told when to run fast and when to run easy was a bit of a strange concept at first, but when I decided to listen, I started having a great time. The farther I got into the run, the better I felt. My split times improved with each lap. At some point, I swore the track was downhill.

In any case, it felt wonderful to shake my legs out, vary the intensity and change up my running a bit. I knew it would, but I am phenomenally proud of having put my theory into practice - in my own life. I am generally good at telling others what to do, but for once I managed to do what I would have advised someone else to do. Brilliant.

The workout: 400m laps - run the flats at ~5k pace or faster, jog the "ends". This translates into 200m fast, 200m recovery split up into 100m segments. Then the same concept applied to 300m (200m fast, 100m off) and 600m in a similar fashion. Recovery laps in between. The number of sets we did seems like a blur now, so you know I must have been having fun. Either way, the intervals were quite refreshing and I truly appreciated the change.

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