Running Track, a photo by www.mattdevino.com on Flickr.
Today was my first solo (and REALLY solo) track run. The team was meeting up for a coached run tonight, but I couldn’t make it because of my WW meeting. So I asked the coach to email me the workout.
It started out all messed up. First, I drove to a nearby field with a sort of rough track around it. I was only a few yards into it when I realized it was super muddy, wet and almost swampy in parts. It was not going to work.
So then I drove to a not-as-nearby high school because I knew they had a track. It’s a huge campus and as it turned out I was like half a mile away from the track place. Finally I found it. It was huuuuge and fancy and was one of those bouncy rubber tracks.
But just being at a track brought back some minor PTSD from my high school track team days. Yeah, I was on the track team! Originally I was a sprinter but there were too many sprinters so I was placed on the 880 (half mile) team. UGH. That is the worse race ever. It’s so hard because it’s too short to be long distance (like the mile) but too long to be sprinting. You just have to be going at full speed for two whole laps. it was really hard for me and I ended up dropping out of several races and puking on the side and just not having a happy time at ALL (and losing the races to boot).
The workout involved doing intervals based on RPE (Rate of Perceived Exertion). We were supposed to do 2-minute intervals at level 6-8 which was described as “threshold pace. This is moderate to hard pace where conversation is possible but labored.”
This RPE is a very tricky thing for me. It reminded me of when I tried to do it on the treadmill. I think in face I was going more like level 9 where conversation was NOT possible. It was also hard for me to maintain for an entire two minutes. And then I got so wiped out I had to walk instead of jog for the recovery intervals. All in all, I think I don’t really know or understand my running self well enough to get these intervals right. It’s a work in progress.
So as a result, I was either going too fast (and feeling freaked out by exertion) or having to walk to recover. It was not the combo we were supposed to be doing. So it felt kind of messed up to me. I wish I’d been able to do this with a coach but I’ll have to ask more about it on the weekend.
It left me feeling kind of unhappy because here I’d been feeling like running was the one tri discipline I had already accomplished, and I was feeling comfortable with it, and now all of a sudden it wasn’t comfortable or easy or familiar. It also dawned on me that in my regular running life, where I run 3-5 miles, I don’t end up feeling really in the groove until I’m well past the first mile or sometimes two. With these faster, interval workouts, I NEVER get to feeling any groove or like I’m physically comfortable. It’s a struggle, and then it’s over. Yuck.
The only good thing about these workouts is that if they feel like a struggle, well there’s always a chance to do it over again real soon. Haha.
July 28, 2011 at 12:48 am
What kind of warm up did you do?
Intervals are supposed to suck, at least that is my understanding.
I bet as your training progresses, you’ll get more comfortable with the intervals.
July 28, 2011 at 1:07 am
The warmup was a ten minute “easy jog.” Which in retrospect probably wasn’t as easy as it should have been. Live and learn!
July 28, 2011 at 1:14 pm
Ten minutes was probably not a sufficient warm up so that could definitely have made the workout seem harder. I don’t know about you but to me warming up seems like a waste of time even though it really, really isn’t.
July 28, 2011 at 12:22 pm
Intervals are something you really need to ease into. If your body is not use to doing them, then it is going to be tough at first. I’m surprised they would give you a workout that jumps right into it. And yes, it would be easier with a coach or someone to help you figure out the right pace for you. I am very much like you in that it takes me a while to warm-up and that is why I like longer distances than 5K. However, I have learned to enjoy speed work now because it gives me a feeling of accomplishment and working hard. I warm-up at least 10 minutes with a combo of walking at first and then easy into jogging and increasing the pace to my easy run pace. I find that it is best for me to run the first couple intervals at a slower pace. This gets my body prepped more for the harder ones. Then, I am able to hit the last few intervals really hard.
July 28, 2011 at 5:30 pm
That’s exactly how they’re supposed to feel. Anaerobic threshold running is hard! FOR ANYONE! great job on doing it!
July 28, 2011 at 11:08 pm
Agreed. Intervals are supposed to be painful, but I think they make runs go by faster than steady state. I’m a sick puppy but I love track workout days…
July 29, 2011 at 7:55 am
You are a braver women than me simply by training for a tri. I am so proud of you and in awe of your progress. Don’t be too hard on yourself, you are doing great!