Thursday, October 13, 2011

Track Work

I don't do much running on the track. I prefer running on the roads so I can enjoy the scenery. But today my workout plan required me to do 6, 1000-meter intervals followed by 4, 400-meter reps. That's a total of over 11 miles counting warm-up and cool-down, which means I'd need to carry water and gels, and running that hard while carrying all that stuff is -- well, hard.

So I decided to run over to the Davidson track and do the intervals and reps there -- that way I could leave the water and gels on the bench while I did the workout, stopping for a drink between intervals when I needed it.

For Daniels (whose program I'm following), the difference between intervals and reps is that you don't fully recover from intervals, but you do for reps. Intervals are designed to improve your aerobic capacity, while reps improve strength and form. In this case I'd be taking 2 minutes between intervals and 3 minutes between reps.

For the 1000-meter intervals I'd be running at a 6:30/mile pace, which is a little faster than my 5K pace (Actually I haven't run a 5K recently and I think I might be a bit faster now, but it's close enough). The Davidson track only opens the outer 4 lanes to visitors, so I amused myself by trying to figure out how much short of 2.5 laps I could run and still reach 1000 meters. I'm not sure I ever got it, and my GPS record of the run shows them at around .66 miles, which is longer than the .62 I should have been running. But the pace I ran was solid for each one: 6:14, 6:28, 6:25, 6:22, 6:21, 6:18.

Next it was time for the reps, 400 meters at a 6:00/mile pace, or 90 seconds a lap. Again, running in lane 5 and starting whenever my 3 minutes was up, I couldn't use the markings on the track to get the distance exact. But with a GPS it doesn't really matter. In the end my reps were a bit long -- .27 miles rather than .25. But I did pretty well on pace (in minutes/mile): 5:51, 6:04, 5:43, 5:32 (Okay, maybe I was showing off a bit on that last one). Sometime after rep 2 I forgot which rep I was on, but fortunately I could look back at my GPS history while I did my recovery jog and figure it out. This is the sort of thing it would be useful to have a coach for.

One thing I haven't done during my buildup to Richmond is "Yassos." Yassos are the creation of legendary marathoner Bart Yasso, who found that his time (in minutes) for 800-meter intervals (when done in a set of ten) nearly perfectly predicted his marathon time (in hours). But today's workout is fairly close. 6, 1000-meter intervals is the equivalent distance of 7.5 800-meter intervals. Given that I'm only taking a 2-minute break, and in a true Yasso you take a break about the same length as the interval itself (for me, over 3 minutes), I'd say my pace today might be a fairly good approximation of what I could do in a Yasso. I averaged about 6:21 a mile, which would be 3:11 for 800 meters. That suggests I could run a 3:11 marathon. I won't get my hopes up for that! I will be happy if I manage a 3:25.

Details of today's workout are below.

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