Tuesday, March 22, 2011

More intervals, less music

I don't mind running intervals as long as I have a good soundtrack to accompany them. Unfortunately for me, my stone-age iPod died on Friday, so I wouldn't have any tunes at all to motivate me on today's planned run, 5 X 1000 meter intervals. My goal was to run them at 5K race pace, about 6:56 / mile, or 4:20 per interval.

I knew the DART group would be meeting in town at 6, so I decided to run in and start out with them, then take off after a mile or so. I didn't think anyone would be up for joining me on an interval workout, but at least I'd have someone to say "hi" to as we passed each other every few minutes. Chad, Todd, Chris, and Jeremy were there, and we took off together at roughly an 8-minute pace. After about .75 miles, I decided to take off on my first interval.

The Garmin Forerunner 305 has the ability to program interval workouts, so you don't need to run them on a marked track, you can do them anywhere and it will track your mileage and time for you. Unfortunately, it doesn't show you your pace as you run -- the screen just tells you which interval you're running and how much distance or time you have left. In my case, I was doing 1000 meter intervals, 0.62 miles, so the screen simply indicated how much distance was left in the interval. I hadn't used this function before, so I got a little confused after the distance was less than 0.1 miles. When you have more than a tenth of a mile left, it gives you two decimal places: .43, .42, etc. But after you get below a tenth, it gives you three decimal places: .098, .097, etc. It's difficult to see the decimal in the dark, so I just thought the thing had gone haywire -- it seemed like it had switched from mileage to some other measure. Meters? Seconds? Finally as you approach your target distance, it starts beeping, then plays a distinctive multi-toned beep at the end of the interval. Phew!

After the first interval, I walked for my planned rest-time of 2:15. The group passed me on the way up Avinger Lane, and I started up on my second interval, running up the hill towards Pine road. This was a tough, uphill leg and I began to worry that I wasn't going to be able to keep up the pace for five intervals. I passed the group again, then turned onto Pine and a gentle downslope. I haven't run intervals at this distance before, so it seemed to take forever before my GPS finally beeped to let me know I could stop. Exhausted, I started another 2:15 recovery walk. All this time, I neglected to glace down at the GPS to note my time for each interval. In fact, I was running them too fast. I did the first one in 4:03 -- a 6:31 pace, and the second one in 3:57 -- a 6:23 pace. This pattern continued for the next two intervals: 3:52 and 4:01.

For my final interval, I was on an upslope, and I was thoroughly worn out. I knew I wouldn't be able to run it as fast as the previous four, so I just ran as fast as I could manage. I ended up finishing it in 4:39, for a 7:31 pace. I'm sure if I had run the first four at my planned pace, I could have done a fifth at the same pace, but I wasn't paying close enough attention to how I was doing on the early legs. Despite this, I was happy with the workout. I had done four very strong intervals and one not-so-strong but still respectable one. I didn't have music to keep my mind off the sheer exhaustion of the workout, but for the most part I still managed to keep focused. That said, yesterday I ordered a new iPod, so hopefully I'll have it by the next time I need to run intervals.

I finished up with a 2-mile cooldown, catching up with the group at the meeting point and joining Chad for coffee afterwards.

Details of the workout are below.

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