Tuesday 6 March 2012

The best speed session ever!?

What a difference a month makes.  It wasn't long ago that I was whining about how much I dislike speedwork, even though I am really starting to notice the benefits.  Then, last Saturday, I decided to grin and bear my way through the goal-marathon-pace run on my schedule.  I'd put it onto my schedule more in hope than in belief.  I mean, what kind of fool does a 14 mile speed session the week after a marathon?  Something clicked, and for once it wasn't a hip or ankle joint!

Not really feeling up for it, I dragged myself out with the target of getting at least 8 miles at pace and do whatever I could for the rest.  Two miles in, I started to feel like I could break into a proper run, and used a nice long downhill to get myself up to the target 7:30 pace. The second mile was also on a gentle descent, leaving me with a 7:00 mile and a decision to make.  Should I ease back to 7:30, or push that bit harder?  Since I'd really like to be racing the odd road marathon at closer to 7:00 some point in the next 14 months or so, I decided to try to hold on to 7:15 or better for as long as possible.  The first goal was to get through 10K, then holding on for 8 miles.  Coming in to the 8th mile, I felt like there was enough in the tank to keep going through 10 miles with a nice easy cool down as a reward.  Although it wasn't the most comfortable run, and I really enjoyed stopping, I finished off feeling pretty satisfied to have completed the session at a better pace than I've held for quite some time.

Wednesdays are club speed session nights, and last week I was being coached rather than doing the coaching.   The session was 4-7x1400m.  Nic, enjoying the combination of a day off and sunshine, decided to do her run during the day and did 5x1mi.  Being slightly competitive with each other, I knew I had to do at least 5 reps to avoid listening to "my session was harder than yours" when I got home.  The first 2 reps were pretty good.  My first recovery interval was a bit quick, but I got that sorted for the rest.  By the 4th rep, I felt tired, but, I decided that I would continue until I'd finished the session or dropped my pace.  All of the effort reps fell within a three second window.  In the end, I was running with a smile.  I couldn't remember ever having run such a hard session before, and was overjoyed that I finally had enough endurance do the workout.  It turns out I don't hate speedwork after all.

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