Today I was due for a speed workout, and I headed down to the treadmill with a bit of trepidation. My shin splints seem to have gotten a lot better in the last few days since I started using compression socks, but I hadn’t done a hard sprint in 2.5 weeks – how would today go?
When I got on the treadmill and started it up, I realized that I felt fantastic, and I proceeded to absolutely crush my workout. I’ve been reading Brain Training for Runners, and one great point the book makes is that just like you would back off a workout when you’re injured/sore/not feeling it, you should also go harder than your planned workout on the days that you’re feeling fantastic. I just read this point last night, and I didn’t expect to be faced with that situation so soon – but here I was, rocking it on the treadmill!
Adam had assigned me six intervals of 0.5 miles each, all to be done at a 6:40 pace. But after the first two at 6:40 felt way too easy, I picked it up to a 6:27 pace for the next two. I thought I could probably go faster than 6:27, but I didn’t want to burn out – especially when I was already going off-script. By interval #4, though, the 6:27 pace still felt easy, so I went down to a 6:18 pace for the last two. The 6:18s weren’t easy, but they also weren’t terrible – I think if I had started from the beginning with 6:18s, I would have been fine to do all of them at that pace! I finished my run with a 0.5 mile cooldown (8:30 pace), and then immediately headed off to foam roll, shower, and of course don my compression socks for 30 minutes or so until I got to the office.
Unfortunately, when I told Adam about my run, he wasn’t as impressed by my run as I had expected, and I was rather disappointed as a result. (This is why it can be frustrating to have your significant other as your coach – I think we need tips from Deena and Andrew Kastor!) As an admitted overachiever, I wanted to get an A+ for an awesome workout that went above and beyond the plan. But Adam countered that he always expects me to do well on the interval run, since I’ve done so many classes with intervals, and so he wasn’t surprised at the paces I hit today. He also pointed out that going that fast isn’t ideal training for a 5K (since I will never be hitting 6:18s in the race if I pace myself right), and that it’s my tempo/progression runs that need work. I agree with Adam that my progression/tempo runs suck, but I really wanted to have today’s workout count for something.
Luckily, after some research, I found a bright spot. I haven’t done a half mile interval run in a month, since my more recent interval workouts have been quarter miles. Comparing the speeds and heart rates across the same half mile interval workout showed me that I’ve come a long way in just four short weeks. Check it out:
Objectively speaking, I have dramatically improved both my work efforts and my recovery time – which is awesome for such a short period of training. Doing this numbers comparison gave me a lot of confidence in my abilities, and I’m excited to see how it pays off in my next race, the Drawchange 5K in Atlanta’s Piedmont Park on 10/1. Here’s hoping for another great racing day!