Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Pack Mentality

4 mile w/u
Target: 3x1k @3:30 w/3:00 jog; 3x800@2:44 w/2:00 jog; 3x600@2:00 w/1:30 jog; 3x400 @78 w/1:00 secs jog
Actual: 3:28, 3:30, 3:31; 2:42, 2:44, 2:43; 1:58, 1:59, 1:58; 78, 77, 74
2+ mile c/d
Total: 12-12.5 miles

Unlike last week, the objective of this workout wasn't necessarily to see how far I could push myself or how fast I could go, but rather to practice running comfortably hard with an increasingly short amount of rest. With my trusty coach and newly healthy pacesetter at my side, Jordan and I set off for the soft surface of the Marblehead rail trail/bike path. Although straight and almost completely flat, the terrain runs somewhat slow due to the dirt and rocks and occasional uneven footing. Given today's goals and my desire to limit the pounding on my body, it was the perfect choice.

Despite the pedestrian starting pace, I initially struggled to settle in. I found myself checking my watch every few hundred meters, worrying about whether the pace was too fast or too slow and projecting my finishing time based on different landmarks on the trail. In fact, for almost the entire first half of the workout I missed the point completely. Finally Jordan reminded me to pretend like I was midway through a 10k race on the track, tucked into the pack and completely focused on the person in front of me. In that situation you're rarely worried about pace or splits; all that matters is remaining relaxed and controlled and expending as little energy as possible. Once I readjusted my mindset, stopped looking at my watch and simply locked into step behind Jordan, the entire tone of the workout shifted. In the end I actually surprised myself by recovering almost immediately after the 400s, to the point where a minute of rest almost seemed excessive. I finished feeling strong and confident thanks to Jordan's help and encouragement.

And now for some optimal post-workout recovery...a four hour drive to New York! Big Apple, here we come.


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Mandie Hayes