Back On Track

Yesterday was my first official track session in years. I knew it was coming, and have been looking forward to blowing the cobwebs off the track shoes. This is just one piece of the progressive build towards my sub five mile attempt in a few months, and I have to say I came away with mixed results.

Taking it with a grain of salt that I have not done ANY speed specific work for years, I heading in with at least an excuse in the back pocket if things didn’t go exactly as I hoped. The workout core was 3 x 5 for 200m at race pace or slightly better (37ish seconds). Equal recovery between intervals and a lap jog between sets. This seems like a lot of volume in the overall number being fairly high, but 200’s are quick and it actually wasn’t too bad.

When I rolled up to the track I headed out on an easy warmup mile. Super slow just trying to get the blood moving and wake up the muscles. One thing I have learned over the years is to really open up my hips and legs after I do an easy jog. My goto routine involves alternating lunges with my hands on my hips followed by forward and sideways leg swings. I’ll do this maybe 2 or 3 times before a hard effort, and the motion I am able to produce expands with each one. After those, and a few more standard calf, ham, quad, and shoulder stretches I felt good to go.

I was worried about heading out too fast on my first interval. I had no real measure of what 37 might feel like, so I did my best to guess at the pace. As the opposite corner of the track came I clicked the lap button and looked down. 40 seconds! Way off pace. That’s only a 5:20 mile and it actually felt pretty fast. No worry, only 14 more to try and dial in the proper speed…

The limited rest was not as big a factor as I thought it might be, and by the end of the first set, I was hanging in there. The 400 recovery was nice, and I felt good for set two. Determined to run this a bit faster, I started to turn to the toes for the back stretches of each interval. What does that mean? Well, most people when they are sprinting at high speed will get on their toes. I liken it to how a boat will plane in the water. Once I am on the toes there are not many more gears in the transmission. I also started to really pump the arms towards the end of the runs. This helped carry me over the line, and the times saw a small bump to under 40 for most of them.

On the last set I turned the hat around, bit down and was just about on pace for the first 4 with the last one being just under goal pace at 36. I was happy to be done, but did quite enjoy the workout. Short, sweet and to the point.

Here a day later, my calves are slightly tender haha. I think a Normatec session is called for later. It is a rest day, but I am almost considering an easier spin on the bike just to stay active. Maybe a swim would be better though.

In terms of my output, and hitting my goal pace for 1/8th of the full distance, I won’t read too into it yet. Was I overall behind, yes, but I think that will come, and it is a slow build. I know I can’t run my goal today which I why I need to keep pushing and keep working until I can. It is good to be challenged, and frankly if this was easy, I probably wouldn’t want to do it.

For now it is back to the grind. Stronger each week, better each day.

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