Thursday, May 26, 2011

Speed Work, Chapter One

Post Workout
TIP OF THE WEEK - make sure that you thoroughly read e-mails that you receive as a result of a request for training advice.  Trust me on this - because I didn't and suffered a little bit as a result.

As I mentioned earlier in the week, my new 70.3 training plan calls for speed-work right of the box and today I had a one hour session on the schedule.  Not being any kind of expert when it comes to speed-work, I reached out to someone who is - my main man to the south Chris K.  He e-mailed me back 3 options:
Option 1 - Tempo
20 minute warm up, 30 minutes 10 seconds faster than 1/2 marathon pace, 10 min cool down. 

Option 2 - 7 minute repeats
20 minute warm up, 4 x 7 minute intervals in HR Zone 4, 2 minute recovery after each 7 minute interval.    

Option 3 - 1000M repeats
20 minute warm up, 3 x 1000M at 20 sec faster than your 5k pace, 500M recovery between each interval.
In a later email, Chris went on to explain that since he thought that "Option 1" was the easiest and "Option 2" was the hardest, I should start with "Option 3", which he felt was in the middle.  But since this would be my first ever structured speed-work session, I figured I'd play the easy card.  However, this is where I miss-read the email.  I programmed "Option 2" into my Garmin and set off to the beach path.

When I got to the beach I realized that I had forgotten my heart rate monitor.  Though this was a little bit of a crisis, it was not nearly as bad as forgetting the actual watch.  I'd just have to use the rate of perceived exertion (or RPE) method to gauge my intervals.  Using the RPE method, exertion somewhere between hard and really hard is roughly analogous to a Z4 heart rate.  RPE charts vary, but the one I use references "hard to really hard" to an RPE of 7 or 8.

I started my 20 minute warm-up and kept my pace around 8:20.  At the 20 minute mark, the Garmin alarm went off and I picked up the pace.  It probably took a few minutes to get  get to RPE 7, and that ended up putting my pace at about 7:20.  The first interval wasn't all that bad, but then again I wasn't disappointed when the alarm for the 2 minute recovery sounded.  I slowed back down to about an 8:30 pace and worked on recovery.

I started the next interval, using the 7:20 pace as the target.  The first few minutes were fine, but I ran out of road and had to do a u-turn.  Guess what?  A headwind.  But it didn't seem that bad and I just kept going.  Again the alarm went off and again I slowed back down to about an 8:20 pace, but this time just a little bit happier I was getting a 2 minute respite.

2 minutes later it was time to go again.  I sped up to a 7:20 pace.  This is when time slowed down - the next 7 minutes felt like a lifetime.  And a lifetime is plenty of time for my pace to slow, which it did to a 7:40 pace.  This was getting rough.  Finally, the alarm went off.  I immediately slowed to 8:20 but I also realized that this was not going to be enough to recover.  So I started walking.

But I was determined to finish and when the alarm went off again I started running.  Another 7 minutes of agony, and the best I could hold was a 7:45 pace.  The last 2 minutes where pure torture, but finally it was over.  I immediately started to walk.  I wanted to stop but I knew if I did I was done for the day - and I still had about a mile to go.

After 2 minutes, I started jogging again.  I was actually a little shocked that I could still run.  But (and I suppose this is both good news and the point of intervals) I had recovered enough and the last 3/4 of a mile was actually enjoyable.

Post workout thoughts?  I probably haven't pushed it that hard on a run since the Surf City Half Marathon, and then I had the benefit of in-competition adrenaline.  It was hard session, and I'll need to do better.  But the workout didn't suck, either.  In the end I was only slightly annoyed that my ADD got the best of me and I miss-read the email.  It was actually really fun in that perverted pain-is-pleasure endurance sport junkie kind of way.  There's another run interval day on the books for next Thursday, and I'll be there.

19 comments:

Amanda@runninghood said...

sounds like you got a good workout even if you were a little ADD when you read Chris' e-mail. Gosh that Chris K is one awesome DUDE. Sure miss seeing his posts...he must be busy these days with more important things. He's never sent me any speed workout options! I'll have to e-mail him about this. Excite for your training Patrick! Go get 'em!

P.s. I miss get my ass kissed. Those were good times.

Jennifer said...

Congrats on a great workout! My 2 cents, I wouldn't worry that your friend graded that workout as "the hardest" (how would you have responded if he'd said it was easy?) Perspective is relative :-)

I sometimes laughed at some of the workouts my coach prescribed, they were ass-kickers, but I managed to get them done and my body adapted to the work. Really cool stuff! Way to rock the tough workout... next one won't be so tough.

Her Name Is Rio said...

The words "and the workout didn't suck" says it all- nice work!

XLMIC said...

Whew! for a second there, I thought you were going to tell us that you pouted in the car until someone brought you the heart rate monitor!

I'd say Option 2 is significantly more challenging than Option 1. Nice to know that the ol' RPE still works ;-) Second to last sentence says it all for me.

XLMIC said...

Oh, and good job, Patrick :)

Amanda@runninghood said...

Gee, all kinds of typos in my first comment. Good grief, one reason I shouldn't comment at night when I'm tired.

Luke said...

Great workout. You are a hardman!

Kovas said...

The smile in the photo says it all. ChrisK always just laughs when I ask him for training advice. ???

Jeff - DangleTheCarrot said...

Nice job man! A group from my Tri club meets early every Weds morning for speed work (at the HS track). I used to go but once the IM training took over it wasn't part of the plan. You just got me thinking I need to go again!

TRI714 said...

SOUNDS SUPER TOUGH.

JessiePants said...

Stellar job pushing yourself!

Glenn Jones said...

I really think that speed work is overrated. You're much better off doing things that increase your Lactate Threshold (long tempo runs)....

Jason said...

Speed workouts are hard but when you are done you are king of the world.

For me the mile repeat is the killer one. 3x 1mile and I am cooked afterwards but always pumping my first too.

IT's weird but I love them at the same time.

Congrats on nailing it.

Tri4Success said...

Sounds like a perfectly fine workout to me. Nice job!

Chris K said...

I was cracking up reading this. You forgot to mention that I recommended that you do 5 x 7 min next week, and 6 x 7 min the following week.

If the speed workout doesn't suck and isn't hard, then it's probably not an effective workout. Just my 2 cents. Good job Patrick. Four 7-minute intervals at that pace are not easy.

Maybe I'll start Kovas out at 1 x 3 minute interval.

nat said...

let the fun begin!
speedwork is the real deal!
(valen)

Aimee said...

Woohoo for speedwork! Considering you ended up doing the hardest one, you did awesome!!

Andrew Opala said...

This HR stuff is awesome ... give me more info!

I eat up this stuff. How to you figure out zone 4? Or any zones for that matter. Jill does all this work for me, and I don't want to seem like a dolt when I talk with my coach.

NattyBumpo said...

Three things...First I can't tell you how shocked I just was to see someone named NAT commenting on your blog.

Second, thank you very much for following my little blog, it makes me feel cool when the cool kids follow my blog.

Third, I hate --some might say "hate" is too strong a word---but I HATE speed training, but I know that if I am going to keep inviting the girls in Oregon to come and run in races with me, it will get a little old being the last one to cross the finish line EVERY race, so I guess that I had better get on with it.

OH, and fourth (I lied) I have to tell you directly that your comment on XLMIC's blog the other day is the most amazingly random piece of writing I have ever had the pleasure of reading, and I will no longer even bother to keep my ramblings to myself.

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