Sunday, May 8, 2011

400 and A Long Run

Yesterday morning was dreary, cold and wet. The conditions were similar to what one may call a Scotch Mist at the track. It was not like it was raining that hard as it was hard to find a distinct rain drop. It was more like being immersed in a wall of wet heavy mist, like someone had a giant spray bottle on mist and was having a great time soaking the track. Within 400 meters of my warmup I could feel the wet and cold in my bones. I had a feeling this was going to be a tough workout.

My perfect conditions for training are bright sunshine and temperatures into the 20s. For fast and hard track workouts I like it a bit warmer. I like to be sweating without my shirt on and in short shorts. I like to be warm as it makes my muscles and aching body feel much better. When my body gets cold I feel my stride length shorten and with each step I feel the shock of impact more and more. This does not happen as much in warmer conditions. Knowing my body I was a bit scared of our 10 by 400 workout.

It turns out I had nothing to fear. Although I was wet and cold I had a great workout with some help from my club mate Gramps. We decided (after I ran too fast for the first 200 of the first 2 intervals) that we would share the lead for the workout alternating 400s. He was on odds and me on evens. His pacing was more even than mine and our repeats went off without a hitch. We managed to hit every interval between 63-65 with a slight negative split to the workout. It was a great effort and once into the workout with my muscles warmed up I was able to accelerate through the hard pieces and really concentrate on running a full stride with a quick recovery. I felt quick off the ground for the first time in a long time. My technique is coming along (yes, there is a lot of technique to running!!!!) and I am getting a bit of confidence in my fitness.

Working with someone else during a workout is really quite fabulous. In many ways it makes the workout half as hard. Out of the 10 intervals yesterday I only had to concentrate on pace for 5. The other 5 intervals were Gramp's and I only had to look at the back of his head and put one foot in front of the other. It also helps to be able to run a workout with a fit and experienced runner. I had full confidence in his ability to run even splits throughout the whole workout. I did not have to worry that I forgot my watch (oops) and could relax through to the finish. Every split time John yelled to us was bang on with Gramps leading. I did not have as much confidence in my own pacing as this is something I am still learning after getting back into training. Having only 5 intervals to worry about, one of which being the last (the last is the easiest as you just run as hard as you can because you are 1. exhausted and 2.almost done), I was mentally able to dial into the workout with an intensity I have not felt in a while.

I can also report that this was a workout that was a bit easier for me than all previous. This may have been why my pacing was a bit erratic. Prior to this workout most of my running was a bit laborious and difficult. At the track yesterday my legs took a bit of a rebound and thus it felt like I did not need as much effort to run my usual pace of the past few months. It is a nice treat to feel the fitness coming back.

This morning I had a lovely long run to West Vancouver. It was a bit different as I have not run over the big bridge in a long time. The change of scenery was welcome as I find long runs a bit on the boring side these days. All told my legs felt a bit achy but generally good.

I am off to the pool to work out some kinks and then tonight a meeting in preparation for what will be my next race, the Ski to Sea relay race. I am going to do the Down Hill ski section! I am going back to my roots for a little bit of fun.

Happy Training!

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