Wednesday, February 6, 2013

Running with people

Tuesday workout
16 x 400m/1 min jog rest
target: 85-89 sec/lap
actual splits: 85, 86, 85, 85, 86, 85, 85, 81, 81, 81, 83, 83, 82, 83, 82, 81

I run all of my workouts solo. This is mainly because I don't have a predictable work schedule, the team I belong to (Impalas) train in San Francisco, and I always seem to be on a different training schedule from most of my friends. For the most part, I have always trained by myself, and I am used to it. I will say, however, that I often wish I had a group (or even one person) to train with that ran my same workouts and paces. When I have had this, I felt like it made the workout so much more enjoyable and it also felt a bit easier.

I have wanted to switch my training schedule to Tuesday/Thursday/Saturday workouts instead of Wednesday/Friday/Sunday for a while now and last week's jacked schedule followed by Saturday's 20 miler gave me the perfect opportunity. So, last night, I did my speed workout which included 16 x 400m repeats. I almost exclusively run my workouts on the paved bike trail near my house, but I like doing 400s on the track. So, I headed to one of the few well-lit tracks in Sacramento at American River College. I did a quick warm up and then some drills and strides. My target paces were to be 85-89 seconds per lap and I was to take 1 minute jog rests. The goal was to run fast, but in control--to not strain and feel as if I could do a few more repeats at the end.

I started off with an 85 second lap and it felt pretty easy. I jogged 1 minute which ended up being 200 meters, and then started the next. I stuck right around 85 for the first few, jogging 200m in between. Pretty soon, I noticed members of a local running team starting to congregate at the start line. It was the River City Rebels. We worked around each other for a few laps until I realized they were also doing 400s. I asked them if I could jump in with theirs, and they didn't say no.

I was super excited to have a pack to run with. One of the Rebels took off on the first repeat (my 8th) like a bat out of hell, and I stuck with her knowing that I was going too fast for my workout. We cleared the 200m mark in 39 seconds. Way too fast. I backed off. I went through the 400 in 81. The pack stopped at the 400 mark and walked for a bit before jogging in the reverse direction back to the start line. I realized that they were doing their repeats faster and taking more rest than me--a very different workout. They were also doing fewer repeats (8-10). I stuck with them for a couple more, and I have to say it felt so much easier to push these paces with someone to chase. Thanks to Karen for being the rabbit!

After the third repeat with the group, I needed to get back to my workout. I bid them farewell and cranked out a few more. All in all, I was very pleased with how this workout went. I felt strong at the end and definitely could have done a few more. It also felt good to have a positive midweek workout experience after the weekend's 20-miler. I like the contrast of running long and steady, then short and fast close together like that. It reminds me that my legs do have some speed if I just set them free.

It was great to have company for part of the workout, and I was very tempted to change mine to continue running with the Rebels. However, I realized that I needed to stick with my workout as written to get the benefits it had to offer. I might have stuck with the Rebels had I not read Pete Magill's post about training errors earlier that day. My mistake would have been closest to Mistake #1: Start too Fast. Even though I didn't start the workout too fast, I was not doing the right paces running their workout. While the 400s were a bit fast for my longer workout, mostly, I was worried about taking more rest between repeats than I was supposed to. I do remember saying, as Magill did to his friends, "you're going too fast for me" before I left the group to resume my workout. It felt weird to say that, but it was true. My 16 x 400m workout with short rest is a marathoner's workout, and I am a marathoner after all.

1 comment:

  1. Great workout - 16 x 400 with 1 min jogs is big! Would have been fun to have company for those middle ones.

    Interesting about the benefits/drawbacks of solo v group training. I enjoy solo training for the reasons you mention. For example, it's rare that target efforts line up exactly - on this morning's easy/long run I had to get Andy to drop back and run at my pace which was probably a little slow for him. I have company for interval workouts which is fun and encouraging but I avoid getting caught up in 'racing' them and try to run the effort that I know my body needs on that day.