The need for speed

8 Jan

A few years ago, I discovered the beauty of trail runs. Of course, I had done the occasional trail run through the redwoods. But, having run on roads for so many years, I had blinders on and never gave a second thought to it. Then 3 or 4 years ago, I signed up for one of  Pacific Coast Trail Runs trail runs. It was felt like…well, like finding religion. A huge Wow! moment.

Now, I’m only fast in my own imagination, but trail running seemed suited to me. Beautiful scenery…a lot of people walk the steep hills, wildlife encounters….I had a few twisted ankles on the technical runs, but nothing compared to the aches and pains from running on asphalt. However, running on trails also made me slower. I guess I was enjoying it too much, more hills, or maybe I was just getting older. Now that I am back training for a marathon, I can see how much my speed has fallen. Previously, in my fastest 10K, I averaged 7:38/mi. My fastest marathon was 3:59. Now, my early morning 6.3mi route takes me about 65 minutes, and I think I’d be lucky to break 5 hours at the LA Marathon.

So, I decided to start doing some intervals to build up some speed. On Wednesday, I got a late start but finally made it to the high school track at about 5:30pm. The lights were on cause the soccer team was just finishing up. I was planning on 8×400 with 400 recovery. Things started off ok. I felt pretty good doing about 8:01 – 8:03 per 400. Then suddenly, after the fifth 400, the soccer team was gone and the lights went out.

Hmm, I was thinking maybe I could finish off the last 3 in the dark….when out of nowhere a dog came crashing into me. Freaked me out for a second, but she kept jumping at my feet till I finally stopped. Then the expected, “Oh don’t worry. She won’t bite, she’s very friendly,” as the owner came running up. Whew!! Freaked me out enough that I just finished off the last 400 and went home – Lesson learned :next time I’m bringing my Petzl headlamp.

Yesterday, I ran my 6.3 mi route after work. Amazingly, I did it about 2 minutes faster than normal. Wow, the training seems to working out. Wouldn’t it be great to break 5 hours in March, maybe even 4:30…..


One Response to “The need for speed”

  1. Christina 01.08.2010 at 2:13 pm #

    Have you heard of Yasso 800’s? You could do 800’s for your speedwork and also use that to estimate what your marathon time till be. At a high level, Yasso 800’s are you work your way up to 10 x 800’s with equal rest of your 800 time in-between and your 800 time is your marathon time. If you are running an 800 in 4:15, then your estimated marathon time is 4:15. I haven’t actually done all 10 x 80’s and then a marathon yet to determine the accuracy but I am up to 6 right now.

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