After hitting the treadmill for 5 easy miles on Monday, I took Tuesday off to go to the dentist and planned my first speed intervals since the fall for today. I woke up to 38 degree temperatures and 30 MPH winds, so I opted to do the speed intervals on the treadmill. Speed intervals on the treadmill aren’t horrible. They’re certainly consistant and hey if I don’t keep the pace, I get shot off the back and into the unsuspecting lady on the elliptical trainer behind me. So, we’ll call that extra motivation.
For those following along in the book, I’m a Vdot 47. Sure, my last race time would indicate that I’m still a 46, but I justified the increase with naturally running faster than my prescribed paces in the weeks leading up to the race and the somewhat shaky argument that “I could have taken another 2 minutes off my race time if I had been less conservative”.
So, according to the 5K plan that I’ve bastardized and started on week 8, today’s workout should have been 10 to 12 x (400m at R pace + 400m jog). Ahhh, but there’s also the stipulation that the total time at R pace should not exceed 5% of the week’s total mileage. Since I’m still in a sort of recovery mode, this week’s total mileage is planned for 30 miles. 5% of 30 is 1.5 miles. Thus, only 6 intervals. My current R pace dictates completing a 400 m interval in 92 seconds (a little over 6:00 min/mile pace). That doesn’t sound too bad considering it’s roughly twice the time it takes the typical Olympic 400m specialist to complete the distance.
As is often the case, theory and practice did not jive today. In my defense, I did not fall off the back of the treadmill into the woman on the elliptical trainer behind me. I even completed a warm up mile at my easy pace, all 6 intervals at the prescribed pace with 10 min/mile jogs in between plus the bonus cool down mile at easy pace for a grand total of 5 miles. I was sucking some serious wind, though. Legs were mildly disgruntled, but lungs were not happy at all. They were quite irate. I thought for a moment they might rip themselves out of my chest and go live with someone else for a while.
Usually, I feel pretty good about a run almost right after I’m finished. Today, I was well past the post run stretch and halfway through my shower before I could actually begin to admit to myself that what I had just done was actually good for me. Now here’s the really fun part. I’ve thrown out 1:15:00 as my goal for the Walt Disney World half marathon in 2010. That’s about 5:43 min/mile pace for 13.1 miles. Today, 6:08 min/mile for 0.25 miles at a time felt pretty crumby. Someday, I’ll link back to this post with pride at how far I’ve come, but right now I’m just dreading having to actually do more intervals next week.