Tuesday, May 31, 2011

13.1 Chicago Pre-Race Workout

3 mile w/u + strides
Target: 2xmile @5:35-40 w/4 mins rest; 2x1k @3:25 w/3 mins. rest; 4x300m strides
Actual: 5:35, 5:29, 3:21, 3:22, 54, 54, 54, 53
2 mile c/d
Total: 10 miles

Though I haven't done one in some time, pre-race workouts were a staple of my training while at Queens. Rather than being designed to elicit fitness gains or blazing fast times, the objective is simply to turn the legs over at race pace or faster and emerge feeling comfortable and confident in your upcoming race plan. In theory, it makes perfect sense. In practice, it often works like a charm. Today, I felt like death.

To be honest, I have no one to blame but myself. And perhaps Mother Nature. Sure, I could've started before sunrise, but I naively thought that departing my house for the AG track at 7:30am would still give me plenty of time to complete the relatively short workout before the heat and humidity became too oppressive. I was grossly mistaken. I'd also forgotten how much of the track--really, all but about 20 meters surrounding the starting line--is completely exposed to the sun. By the time I finished my warmup and strides I was already wilting rapidly. The first two mile repeats and their lengthy rest should've felt easy and relaxed, but instead every part of my body felt tense and heavy and almost unbearably warm.

I had just finished the second mile repeat and was slowly trotting around the top of the curve when I spotted a familiar face jogging toward me. My friend and CRC teammate John Fillette had just arrived for his own workout but graciously offered to run with me for the remainder of mine. What a difference his presence made! My first 1k, which I did solo while John finished his warmup, was as much a chore as the preceding mile repeats. But I felt instantly, inexplicably better once John jumped in for the second one. Just having someone else running alongside me translated to a tangible difference in my level of perceived exertion. Thanks to his company I finished out the 300s feeling relaxed and strong--albeit indescribably thirsty--and to offer a small token of my appreciation I stuck around and cheered him through a solo mile repeat at the end. He even joined me for part of my cooldown, which was an added bonus. I have no doubt John will crush it at the King Tiger 5k when he toes the line this weekend!

As for myself, this workout did little to affect my confidence in either direction for my upcoming race. On the one hand, the entire thing was a struggle. On the other hand, I was still able to run faster than my prescribed paces despite feeling terrible from the first few steps. I'm definitely keeping my fingers crossed for better weather in Chicago this weekend, but either way I know I'm in solid shape. And it's not like the weather is going to improve any time soon, so I might as well get used to it. Game on, summer.


Anonymous said...

Yayy! Thanks dudette. No way would I have I run that workout had I not seen you.. tons of luck in your half and hope to see you in either another workout or the 4 miler in July!!

NightlySun said...

Let's do it! Yay!