When it comes to racing, I have two goals over the next few months: (1) to feel strong and race well at adventure racing nationals in October, and (2) to run a sub-3:40 at the Philly marathon in November.
To accomplish both without injury or burnout, I know that I need a far more concrete plan than I had over the winter and spring, when a rough monthly outline worked fine because everything counts as training for adventure racing.
I’m still working on what that plan will look like, and in the meantime, I’ve spent the past couple weeks getting reacquainted with running. Don’t get me wrong – I’ve been running plenty already this year, but it was always just a piece of the larger story, always at the same place and on the same trails, always without garmin or music, without worry of pace or distance, always geared toward the greater goal of getting through a four-day race.
Now, it’s time just to run.
Most of my runs the past couple weeks have been relatively easy, but yesterday I decided to kick it up a notch.
Enter: Speed Work.
I haven’t done speed work in more than two years, when I last trained in earnest for a marathon, so when a friend of a friend invited me to come to her running group yesterday morning, I was a bit apprehensive.
How fast can I run?
Will I be able to keep up?
How will I know what pace I should be hitting?
After lots of conversations with myself, I decided to stop worrying and dive in – until I realized that I had a time conflict with the scheduled group. Instead, I took the workout that was emailed out and later that afternoon headed for the treadmill.
I was to do:
10 minutes warm up
1 mile @ 10k pace (2 min recovery)
1 mile @ LT (2 min recovery)
4 x 800 @ 5k pace (2 min recovery between each)
The only problem? I’ve never in my life run a 5k or a 10k, and I’m not even sure what LT means.
So, I took to google. I started with a marathon training calculator at Runner’s World. I decided to input a 3:35:00 marathon, and see what I got.
Well, that seems reasonable enough. Now about this lactate threshold business…
So, if my 5k time will be 22:30 (roughly 7:20 pace) and my 10k time will be 46:45 (roughly 7:30), my LT pace should be roughly 7:45.
Sounds easy enough, right?
That is, until you forget all those numbers as you step on the treadmill.
In the end, after my 10 minute warm-up, I ran a mile at an 8:00 pace, a mile at a 7:40 pace, and 4 x 800s at a 7:20 pace.
Was it perfect? Nah… But it’s a start, right?