Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Back in training -- Track Intervals

It's been a while since I posted. I had some Achilles pain in August that took a while to clear up, but at last it relented and I have been earnestly back in training since the beginning of September. My goal for the autumn is to work on speed, and I have a bunch of short races lined up. In fact, I've already returned to racing as of the first weekend in October, when I did the Houghton's Pond Trail Race (10k). It was great trail running weather; cool, clear, but muddy from the previous day's rains. I finished in a pretty limp-wristed 9th place, having lagged badly in the 2nd half. I'm happy to be racing again, but it's hard to be really happy with a race like that when you know there's so much more that you could do.

That brings us to the present. I told myself I wanted to work on speed, and that means some quality time on the track. I am a perennial track-avoider, and I think it shows in my running weaknesses (i.e., I don't feel very efficient at a fast pace, and become aerobically maxed out disproportionately early relative to my muscular strength/fatigue resistance).

Nonetheless, I think the best way to teach your body to run fast is to run fast, and the easiest way to do that is intervals on the track. I've just got to actually do them. Today was session #2: 8x 600m intervals at 5k race pace, with slow (~70s) 200m jogback.

First two were intentionally a little restrained. (I'm an old man of 30 now--I have to ease into these things!)

goal: 120s
126s, 123s, 115s, 118s, 119s, 118s, 117s, 111s

Coming up with interval workouts is one of those situations where I kind of wish I was working with a coach. My immediate goal is to crack 17 minutes in the 5k (122.4s 600m intervals); I knew that was a little easy vs what I could do, even in comparatively weighty trainers. Does that mean my goal is too conservative? (a 20s jump in my 5k pr feels like a big step). On the other hand, it's not like I wasn't sucking wind by the end of each interval--and I better not be gasping 600m into the actual race! I'm shooting in the dark here.

I will have one more track session next Tuesday prior to "Bill's Pizzeria 5k" the following Sunday. Exact plan still unknown. Perhaps 12x 400m at 5k pace with short recoveries.