My First Experience with Speedwork

According to my half marathon training program, today’s workout was 5x400m at a 5K race pace. I was a little nervous, because I have never really done speedwork before. Well, I did in like, high school track, but I didn’t consciously know what I was doing/why. I was just being told to by the coach!

I was mostly nervous because I didn’t know how well it would work without a treadmill or track. At school, I will be able to go get on a treadmill in the gym and set the paces that I want. Here, I had to not only pace myself, but I also had to get on the internet and try to measure out a 400m length on my running route.

Overall, I think it went…okay. I started out jogging 1 mile for a warm up, then began the 400 m repeats. I wasn’t sure how long to “rest” in between them, so I just jogged the 400m back to the starting point each time. Hopefully that wasn’t a terrible method, as I am guessing that one should not rest as long as one runs quickly (like I may have been allowing myself to recover too much) but if I wanted to make sure I was running 400m I had to keep running the same segment over and over.

One thing I was pleased with after looking at my pace data was that I was able to actually run a large portion of the intervals at my 5K race pace (8:00 per mile). I was a little slow towards the end of a couple of them, and ran a little slower (about 8:30, it looks like) on the last one, but even without a treadmill I did pretty well at guesstimating my pace. I was especially glad to see this because when I would glance down at my GPS watch it would say something like “current speed 6.5 mph” so I was afraid I was going a wee bit slow. It is probably just that instantaneous current speed on a GPS is somewhat inaccurate compared to average speed (which makes no sense when you are doing intervals like this) and I think I slow down just a tad when looking at my watch because I’m not very coordinated (so I avoided doing it as much as possible).

What I was NOT pleased with, however, was my pace on my warm up and my recovery intervals. I feel silly being displeased with them because they are actually not that unreasonable (I usually run a 3-5 minute warmup at a 10:00 pace if I’m doing non-running workouts at the gym, for example). In fact, my plan for these workouts when I finally get around to a treadmill is to warm up at a 10:00 pace and then try to do recovery intervals at that pace as well but go down to a 12:00 pace if needed, so I should be thrilled that I accidentally did it on feel alone. I think it frustrated me, though, because I didn’t feel like they were “easy.” Also, I think it is my frustration from general summer running spilling over – I HATE running in the summer because it makes me feel like a depressing failure until I start running again in the fall/winter and suddenly I’m super fast! I’m also WAY faster than I was last summer so I shouldn’t be complaining (last summer I was excited about getting under 11:00 per mile and thrilled to be hitting my current speeds in the winter). I’ve just been feeling really down about my fitness progress lately and it’s annoying me.

I must comment on one thing I LOVE about the GPS watch, though: look at how clearly you can see my turn-around points. You can see that I did half a mile out and back when I warmed up and then that I turned around between every change in speed. The fact that I can see that is SUPER cool to me (I MIGHT be a bit of a data geek)! It is also reason to do this on a treadmill – I won’t get slowed by having to turn around! I also just found out how to look at my heart rate over time on there and I must also say that is super cool. It actually helped me to feel slightly better about my pace that I was just complaining about because you can see that my warm-up and recovery intervals are all at an equal heart rate and my pace interval are all at an equal (much higher) heart rate. Actually, I just put it up on here so you can see what I mean. Ignore the part where my heart rate is like whoa high because I still don’t know what on earth that is all about.

Look at all this beautiful data!!

Tomorrow I will have to get creative with my workout yet again – I have a 3 mile run and strength training on the schedule. The 3 mile run is easy, but remember that I do not have a gym or weights here! I have an idea, but I’ll save talking about it for tomorrow, because I’m not sure how well it is going to go, yet.

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2 thoughts on “My First Experience with Speedwork

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