MarathonMaiden's Blog

March 9, 2010

Intervals With A Twist of Lemon

Filed under: Uncategorized — Tags: , , , , , , — marathonmaiden @ 18:07

Okay so no lemons here.  There was the potential for lemons, however, as I attempted my first outdoor interval session this morning. I’ve done them before outside but never this cycle and never as a part of a structured plan.  I really crave the immediate knowledge of pacing feedback that the TM gives me.

That said, the weather was just WAY TOO NICE to pass up.  Upper 40s when I started to low 50s when I ended. Life is good. SPRING?! Please Mother Nature: don’t take this away!

And while I’m really happy I went outside, I suffered the worst “guilt” ever about it. It was a pretty agonizing decision.  I mean, it’s not something I got an ulcer over, but I went back and forth, back and forth. On one hand:

  • The weather
  • Getting a good evaluation of where I am with pacing myself
  • The weather
  • I wouldn’t feel obligated to add hills afterward (no hills in my area and I wouldn’t be hitting the gym up after) which would be a plus to the shin thing (hills aren’t the friendliest)

On the other hand:

  • I love having the pace dictated to me so that I can maximize the workout
  • Boston has hills and I would include them
  • I would get to watch The History Channel
  • No garmin meaning I’d be doing laps of the school (1.14 miles) repeatedly.  Boring and I’m sure people would also think I’m crazy given my workout
  • Late night the past few nights + big miles = very fatigued MM

Okay so the decision doesn’t look so hard when I write it out like that.  The biggest thing going for the gym/TM was that I was AFRAID OF FAILURE and that I wouldn’t be able to A) hit my paces or B) be able to be consistent with paces.

I told myself that consistency would be the name of the game here and that I’d force myself to be happy with just even pacing. The workout I was doing was a 1-2-2-1 mile, kind of a semi-ladder at 10k pace.  On a TM that equates roughly to 7:08 pace (my real PR pace is around 7:13) so I was shooting for around there and my guess was that I’d be a little on the low side although I wouldn’t know it until after I was done and had run the numbers through a calculator.

Even though so many people love their garmins I think NOT having one is a PLUS for me.  Sure it drives me a little crazy that I don’t know how my splits go but I think it helps keep me somewhat relaxed as the best I can do is the best I can do and I’m not worried about being off during the workout when my focus needs to be on the current interval.

How’d I do?

  • 3.8 mile warm up @ 9:04 pace
  • 1.14 (7:15 pace) – 2.28 (7:08)– 2.28 (7:16) – 1.14 (7:07) miles with .5 and 1.1 miles recovery respectively (Avg pace for total recovery:838 )
  • 3.8 mile warm down @ 8:46 pace

Total time: 144 minutes 25 seconds
Total distance: ~17.6 miles
Average pace: 8:13

I have mixed feelings about this.  On one hand I’m very happy that I was able to keep my pace as fast as it was.  There’s totally something to say about the influence of weather (as many of you guys reminded me on my last post where I mention SAD).  Another positive was that my shin only started bugging during the last mile.  *Not Pain!* but a “oh hey I want ice when we’re done”. I’m a bit bummed that I wasn’t consistent the way I wanted to be.  But the numbers are right where I figured they’d be.

Another shocker to this workout was how fast the recovery as well as warm up/down times were.  It definitely didn’t feel that fast at all and I questioned how accurate my watch was!

That said, I really was feeling all happy and smiley.  Right around the halfway mark (you know: the point where the rest just seems like nothing because you’re halfway done) I really started feeling good and like I could do this.  I think what also helped was that I had just read this from TheFitnessista before heading out:

““Make it yours, and own it.” Many of you asked me about the pilot’s pep talk he gave me before the half marathon. Since I know many of you have races and events coming up, I thought I’d share the almond-shell version with ya’ll. We were sitting at Seasons 52, waiting for our friends to arrive, and I was telling him about how nervous I was. He said, “You know what, it’s going to suck. It’s going to be terrible, hard, and you’ll be hating it. But the thing is, you can let the ‘suck’ beat you and take you down… or you can make it yours, and own it. If something’s going to be painful and terrible, you might as well make it worthwhile. It’s a temporary thing and before you know it, it will be over.” So while I was running (sans iPod!! GAH!), I kept thinking about the fact that it was going to be over eventually and I might as well make it worthwhile, no matter how difficult it was. Before I knew it, we were in the car driving home”

And it totally ran through my head when I wanted to slow up because the wind was blowing really hard or I was going up a slight incline that felt like Everest the billionth time I hit it.  I just kept telling myself that “YES THIS IS HARD. But it’s going to be over soon.  Make the most of it”.  So thanks Gina (if you read my blog) for the help!

Another interesting note is that, while I’ve been really open about my struggle with pacing outdoors, I find intervals outside is easier that tempos.  Maybe because it’s such a short time frame (although I guess I wasn’t totally “on” since my paces weren’t exactly even) but I never felt like I was going fast. I think this has to do with roads and the elements vs tm and controlled climate.  I know that the inherent differences between the two will likely make me sore tomorrow because I know I was using muscles that haven’t really been tested yet.

I had to keep telling myself to pump my arms hard to go faster, but I’d easily forget and then have to re-remind myself hah! I also kept telling myself to be “light and effortless”.  I think that this mantra of the day was helpful because it regulated my breathing a bit and got me to calm down.  Which in turn likely helped me go a bit faster.

So overall: I’m very happy. I doubt I’ll give up my lovely TM for intervals anytime soon but it’s a good mental relief to know that I can do an interval workout.  And who knows: maybe I really am getting faster.  It’s hard for me to wrap my head around the fact that I’ve been training for a bit over 10 weeks so it’s natural to be getting faster and making improvements.

Either way I’m very proud of my accomplishment today on the track on the lap of campus that I used as a large track.  What I’m not proud of? Not getting enough sleep last night because I was up so late doing work!! So I’m going to wrap this novella up so I can go be productive and hopefully not have a late night.  Because there’s no way in HELL that I’m missing watching LOST live.

Have a great Tuesday night all! (And doesn’t it feel like it should be later in the week?! Booo to that! 😛 )



  1. great workout! it’s nearly impossible for me to go with an indoor workout when it’s nice outside. I feel guilty for “wasting the day.”

    Comment by pen (pen at peace) — March 9, 2010 @ 19:19

  2. Good job getting outside! You may want to keep that up because you won’t be running Boston on a treadmill.

    Comment by Matt — March 9, 2010 @ 19:31

    • Dude, the only time I’m on the ‘mill is for intervals. All my other runs? Outside. And I don’t think Boston is going to be run as an interval run…although sometimes I think my interval runs end up being faster/close to GMP so maybe I will run it that way hahah 🙂

      Comment by marathonmaiden — March 9, 2010 @ 22:54

  3. Why must you rock so much? Because you do. Seriously. I’m so excited for your Boston because I can feel how well you are going to do! Get some rest though girl! 🙂

    Comment by tmart — March 9, 2010 @ 19:52

  4. Great job outdoors! I am scared to just run loops and not run on a track for outdoor intervals. Its harder plus there are a ton of hills around here and no flat space! You did a great job and hope you are feeling proud because you should! you did great today and yesterday too!

    Comment by J — March 9, 2010 @ 20:50

  5. I really think the weather switched from coast to coast!! It’s been cold here…and when I say cold, I mean probably what you guys have now haha. But still!! Sigh. Atleast it wasn’t hailing today. I am envious of your 17 mile intervals. You woulda lost me on that first warm up. Ha. Way to rock it today. If I didn’t have 100 students who depended on me that Monday, I’d totally fly out and support!

    Comment by Running on Faith — March 9, 2010 @ 21:31

  6. I’ve done that same back and forth about TM vs. outside, although normally I’m wanting to run on the TM rather than outside. I live in a HILLY neighborhood, so outside is usually a huge challenge for me. I favor the TM during the summer because I HATE running in really hot weather. However, sometimes I worry that I won’t do it at all if I don’t do the TM, so I just work so hard I kill myself and wish I’d run outside instead… LOL

    Comment by Kim — March 9, 2010 @ 22:07

  7. I’m glad you got your great work out in! But please don’t let all these stress you out so much…I hope you get to enjoy them rather than let them become sort of a chore! 🙂

    Comment by sophia — March 9, 2010 @ 22:23

    • I’m trying not to let the stress get to me. I totally loved your post today about stress. Helped put some things in perspective 🙂

      Comment by marathonmaiden — March 9, 2010 @ 22:57

  8. I’m glad I read your post again. I got confused at first and thought, “Where MM lives, is there even a Seasons 52?” Hi, EE, please read; kthxbi.

    You can beat this stress into oblivion. Apply some targeted force (equations). 🙂

    Comment by EE — March 10, 2010 @ 00:24

    • I absolutely LOVE your physics jokes. Seriously. They make me laugh when I’m stressed out over physics stuff 🙂

      Comment by marathonmaiden — March 10, 2010 @ 23:25

  9. Uhh yes I did steal that 1000m repeat workout from you and others! opps! It was a good one though! What training plan are you following?

    Comment by J — March 10, 2010 @ 06:52

    • I’m following the veteran/advanced plan on the BAA website. It’s tough and challenging and I love it 🙂

      Comment by marathonmaiden — March 10, 2010 @ 23:26

  10. Great job. Challenging workout, but you nailed it … as usual!

    It’s amazing the influence weather (specifically the sun) has on our psyche. Total mood changer. 🙂

    Comment by a marathoner — March 10, 2010 @ 09:03

  11. This is interesting to me, because I feel entirely the opposite – intervals, for me, are more challenging and horrible on the treadmill. I acknowledge that you can get a fine workout there, but I simply cannot make myself do it to the extent that I can on the track. Mind you, I hate track workouts, but I can push myself without having to toggle the speed manually. That, for me, is the biggest benefit.

    Comment by sarah — March 10, 2010 @ 10:38

  12. I know what you mean about feeling guilty…here in LA I usually have no excuse to work out at the gym but sometimes it is just too convenient to pass up. And then I spend the whole day feeling bad that I didn’t get outside and I wasted electricity by using the treadmill. My brother says I feel guilty about everything and he is RIGHT!

    Great job on your workout. 144 minutes of anything is way too much for me to handle. 🙂

    Comment by Ameena — March 10, 2010 @ 10:40

  13. I’m with you on the pacing. Part of me is actually worried about getting off the treadmill because I won’t have the pace forced on me. It’s weird. I don’t really care for running on the treadmill but I can’t get away from it!

    Comment by David Dierking — March 10, 2010 @ 11:40

    • That 100% sums up how I feel man. I get so scared that I’m not going to be able to hit a pace even though I KNOW I can physically handle it. Guess I just need more practice to get more confidence? We need to step away from the TM hahah

      Comment by marathonmaiden — March 10, 2010 @ 23:27

  14. I love that quote- “Make it yours, and own it.”

    Most likely going to write that one down and do something corny with it like post it on my bathroom mirror or refrigerator… 🙂 Love it!

    Comment by Amy @ Second City Randomness — March 10, 2010 @ 11:40

    • Yeah, it’s totally on a post-it in front of my computer 🙂

      Comment by marathonmaiden — March 10, 2010 @ 23:28

  15. I still can’t believe you can run so long on your interval days. I’m done after 7 miles! Good for you, battling your outdoor pacing demons.

    Comment by EarlyRunner — March 10, 2010 @ 11:50

  16. Ohh how good was Lost! I’m loving it but I don’t want it to end!

    I don’t think you should worry about your pacing, I mean I know they weren’t exact but they were pretty close! I had a good run outside today too, loving the better weather although I was totally overdressed for it haha

    Comment by Laura — March 10, 2010 @ 12:33

  17. wow great post…i’m not the only one who feels guilt…but I wish I had your problem …at least you RAN girl …never take that for granted…

    Comment by eatmovelove — March 10, 2010 @ 14:19

  18. Haha yeah…you should NOT get a Garmin. You’re obsessed enough already. 😉

    Comment by runjess — March 10, 2010 @ 14:26

  19. Awesome job! I am terrible about pacing myself outside so I feel you on the nerves. But I love the pep talk. I need to remember that during the hard workouts!

    Comment by runningfiance — March 10, 2010 @ 15:18

  20. hey boooo!!! this is an awesome workout!! you did amazingly…i think it’s time to back away from the treadmill and get outside! 🙂 i hope you have been having a great week! xoxo!

    Comment by Lizzy — March 10, 2010 @ 17:12

  21. Haha, SO MANY people are obsessed with Lost! I need to get into it!

    Comment by Kathleen — March 10, 2010 @ 19:25

  22. Awesome job with the speedwork. Thanks for sharing your coach’s message. I repeat a similar mantra to myself when I’m stuck in my own head and can’t put forth the effort in the “hard” miles of a race, whatever they be. I know it’s gonna hurt no matter what, so get the hurt over with faster. Nothing worthwhile ever comes from not working hard and not hurting and guess what everyone else around me is hurting too, so i wanna be good, and wanna be better, I have to hurt better that the rest of them and make the hurt work for me instead of destroying me. Don’t know if that makes sense but it works for me.

    Comment by The Laminator — March 11, 2010 @ 10:40

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