Halfway There

The weeks continue to roll by and so do the track workouts. The tricky thing with track workouts at the moment though is schools are back in session. That means practices, games, fans etc. all milling around or watching from the bleachers. As confident as I may be, I am NOT going to be running wheezing laps around a track while a field hockey game is going on in the middle. So…sometimes we need to adapt and overcome.

This week, unable to find an open track when I had the window to run, I was forced to take it to the treadmill. The workout itself was pretty simple, descending count, ascending distance. (5×100, 4×200, 3×400, 1×800) All of these were to be at goal pace, or faster for the shorter ones. Sadly, my treadmill only goes to 12mph, so for anything shorter where I would be pushing for better than goal pace wasn’t possible. Is that an issue? Maybe long term, but for times when you need to just deal with the cards in front of you, it is ok. Besides, there are two benefits to a treadmill. One is that it really helps with turnover and getting the muscles used to a range of motion and speed. The second is one of the biggest advantages in my opinion.

Forced pace. When you set a speed on the treadmill, and let’s just assume it is accurate, you have to match it. If not, you will be spit out like a watermelon seed. Or in my case be flung into a wall and shredded by the belt (I do wear the safety clip over 11mph). As long as you can keep your grubby paws off the speed, you just have to go. No thinking, just keep up. I love that.

For this workout, the first few are always a bit of a shock to the system, but they are short and sweet. Even the 200’s are pretty easy. The 400’s started to hurt some, but there was good rest between them, and I have been doing 400’s the last few weeks so the pain wasn’t too bad. Now that 800 was a different story.

With my longest interval to date the 600m in Lake Placid, I was more curious about the 800 than I was looking forward to it. In fact, I wasn’t sure I would be able to do a 2:30 at all, but mentally I was prepared to give it everything to get there. After the 3rd 400 while I was letting the heart rate get back down to a reasonable level, I started to hedge. My mental toughness was wavering a bit. Something I had thought about all day, something I was going to crush, just didn’t seem in the cards, and I hadn’t even started yet. I was telling myself, just get to this far and if you need to quit, it is ok.

BS. I know it is BS, but the mind is a funny thing. Anyway, the interval started, and it was immediately hard. I knew from the 400’s that it would be hard to hit 400 at pace, but I was determined to get to at least that point. The halfway marked rolled by and I was still in the game! only 1:15 left in the lap and then done. 45. 30. 15 r-e-a-l-l-y long seconds and boom done. Somehow I made it 800m in 2:30. That is halfway to the 4:59 goal and with a lot of training time to go.

Now before you go telling me it was on the treadmill with no incline blah blah blah, yeah, I get it. Is it the same as outside, no of course not. But would I have pushed to the absolute edge like I did on the treadmill, no I don’t think I could have. The tools are there to be used, and to push us. Each workout has its purpose and you hope to make gains on each of them. For me, seeing that I could at least do what I did makes me feel better about the possibility of going sub 5:00.

Oh, and I also did the run in my Asics Kayano’s which are basically the running equivalent of a workboot. So when I slip on my new Nike Alphafly Next%’s I will have an even bigger ace in the hole. You can call me Kipchoge. And no they aren’t cheating. First they are approved to run in the Olympics, and second this is not a ‘race’. Just something for me.

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