Seebo's Run

A running commentary on my training and whatever else emerges from that.

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Location: Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, United States

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

Rehearsals for Retirement

It was 6:10 a.m. when I left to run and the sun was already shining pretty colors over the Darby Creek.

Headed out to the track to consummate the workout I wisely postponed from yesterday. Mike suggested this:

get on the track and just do 12 quarters, but be generous with the rest, and do the first two or three with emphasis on form, do not work too hard, see what the clock says, and it may be like the miles the other day, your head will follow your body once both are warmed up. The point of the workout is to get your legs used to some turnover so that when you are ready for faster mile repeats, your legs are not redlining to point of muscle strain.

and it sounded well-suited for where I was at. Mike's a good friend, and runningwise he's more a mentor than a coach. When I get going in my training he'll usually email me comments and suggestions which come closer than any coach or anyone else to "getting" me and my running. This workout was no exception.

So 12x400 with unlimited rest it was. I liked the idea of taking as much time as necessary between repeats, which then lets me go more for broke on the repeats. There was a sky-is-the-limit feeling to how fast I could do these 400s, and I had hopes (i.e., not goals or targets) of doing them in the 75-80 second range.

The repeats (with generous 2:15-2:45 recoveries in between) went 85; 82; 81; 81; 79; 82; 81; 79; 79; 81; 80; 80.

Not quite as fast as I had hoped. I should have read Mike's instructions more closely, esp. where he said don't work too hard. Esp. the first one, I started with my head hunkered down and just looking to bull my way to a quick 400. I was disappointed at the result and then took advantage of the long recovery to relax. Over the course of the last few track workouts, progressively faster reps just came to me, I told myself to let them come this time as well. This made for a little speed and after I relaxed the form came, where I found I could concentrate on arm cadence and stride turnover - long and easy. That first 79 just came but it was hard to maintain it, as there was a strong headwind rearing up around the back turn just when I was really sucking air. This demanded speed, form and concentration, and some reps I got these together better than others.

The one letdown about this workout is that it puts a bound on how fast I am. Coming in I felt as I could go as fast as I wanted, going out I now know that 80 second 400s are about my range, with my times for longer reps based off of that. I know I can work them down a bit, and that I might be able to do better under more favorable conditions, but improvement from here will be limited. And like every other competitive runner I know, I'd like to see that base time be about 5 seconds faster.

I could go on for a whole other blog entry on the thoughts that spun off of this realization of limits, culminating perhaps in a metaphor for mortality. But to paraphrase Freud: "Sometimes a track workout is just a track workout." It gives me a basis to shoot for 2:45 for the 800m reps I'd like to do for next weeks workout.

11 miles (I don't stop the watch even when I stop) in 1:35:50.


Blogger ryandavid said...

Amazing the thoughts that running can effect. Long miles this weekend sounds good. What did you have in mind?

3:55 PM  

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