Thursday, October 17, 2013

Fast Finish Mile Repeats

2 mile w/u + 1 lap of stride the straights, jog the curves
Target: 6-8 xmile w/2 min. rest; first 3 laps at 1/2 marathon/marathon pace, last lap @5k pace
Actual: 5:44 (last lap 80), 5:43 (79), 5:44 (79), 5:43 (80), 5:42 (79), 5:40 (80)
1+ mile c/d
Total: 9.5-10 miles

This workout came about somewhat unexpectedly as I was in the midst of an epic Michigan/Wisconsin/Illinois work trip. (I think I was even in Indiana for a few minutes, although I can't be certain.) On Wednesday morning I did a light fartlek as prescribed by Jordan to wake up the legs in preparation for another yet-to-be-determined workout on Friday morning. Since I would be spending the night in Naperville, Illinois (a Chicago burb), I reached out to my new friend Amber, the apparel buyer at Naperville Running Company, to see if she wanted to meet for some easy miles on Thursday morning. She was game for meeting up, but said she was planning on a mile repeat workout, some crash training after her recent wedding and honeymoon in advance of the upcoming Naperville Half-Marathon. Having not worked out or raced in many moons, she was loosely targeting 5:50-6:00 pace with a relatively brief rest.

I wanted to make it work, but wasn't sure how her plan could be adapted into something that would be optimal for me. I conferred with Jordan, and he suggested that I run her pace for three laps and then kick it up a notch for the final 400 meters. That way we could still start and finish together and utilize each other's presence for the bulk of the intervals. Plus, my legs would be slightly fatigued from the fartlek 24 hours prior, making this a good simulation of the latter stages of a race. Amber was game with this plan as well, so it seemed like a stellar arrangement.

Unfortunately, I awoke on Thursday morning to my absolute least favorite workout (and general life) conditions: 45 degrees, windy and raining. Yuck. If Amber weren't picking me up, I would've probably rolled over for a few more minutes and then hit up the hotel treadmill. Instead, we drove into downtown Naperville to her alma mater, North Central College, and met up with one of her coworkers and male training partners (whose name escapes me--good thing he's not reading this). He had just run a marathon the weekend before and was looking to loosen up the legs and help set the pace with us, which seemed ideal. 

Despite the weather (which only worsened as our workout progressed), this went pretty well. Amber ran great for her first track workout in months, and I was semi-successful in dropping the pace on the last lap of each interval. I'd hoped to be able to close in 76-78, but in soggy trainers on race-weary legs I couldn't overcome the invisible governor that hovered around 80. The faster last lap made the rest period seem shorter than it actually was, which meant I had to use the first few laps of the subsequent interval to recover while running marathon pace or faster. If you think (like I did!) that this workout sounds super easy on paper, try it sometime!