Wednesday, August 8, 2007

I LOVE speed work! I HATE speed work!

Yes, I definitely have a love-hate relationship with my speed-work sessions. The ‘hate’ part is when I’m pushing as hard as I can to keep up my target speed, yet my GPS saying that I’m not going any faster. The ‘love’ part is when I’m done a 1 mile lap and I’m ahead of goal pace – and getting faster as do more laps.

That is pretty much how it worked today. Brian came by the house at 6:00 am to go for our run. We started early because I had meetings today in Toronto, and because we both wanted to beat the heat and humidity that had been forecast today.

Well, getting the run complete in time for me to get to my meetings worked well. But we were unsuccessful in beating the heat and humidity, as we were both drenched in sweat by the time we were done.

I started with a 2-mile warm-up run and then launched into my 3 miles of speed work, with each mile separated by a half-mile jog. My target pace for the speed work, according to my chart, was 7:01/mile. In fact, I was able to do the paces in 6:57, 6:53 and 6:48 – so I was getting faster as I got closer to the end of my run and knew I had the energy to complete in a more aggressive pace.

Interestingly, the net difference in elevation over the mile that I did was 50 feet down when running to the west, which I did on the 1st and 3rd laps. The wind was facing me during that westward run, which slowed me down, but also cooled me off. Net effect: probably zero. So grade differences and wind can make a difference -- but in some cases they just serve to even out the effort.

Brian had to do 8 miles at a 7 minute pace, with a 1 mile run on either end for a total of 10 miles today. He was definitely feeling the heat and humidity at the end as well, but finished his goal strongly. I can only dream about someday being able to keep up that sort of pace for that long!

One thing that Brian mentioned is that you train and train and follow the plan, and then you taper – and then for one day, you’re able to be super-human while running the marathon. So the fact that during your training, you may feel like you can’t possibly pull it all together to run 26.2 miles in your goal time, everything should come together come race day.

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