MarathonMaiden's Blog

October 2, 2010

It’s Really Fall. And It’s Really Time To Run Fast.

Filed under: Uncategorized — Tags: , , , , , , — marathonmaiden @ 12:34

Thanks so much for the kind words about my bailing on the speed session yesterday. It made me feel (slightly) better knowing that many of you have “postponed” workouts before.

I also got a few comments about taking the iron pills — which I should have expected and clarified yesterday.  This wasn’t just one bad run and I jumped to a conclusion.  Yes I’ve been telling you all the good stuff with my running and life (with the exception of the weather!) but my overall energy was suffering and if you want to see what the symptoms are for iron deficiency anemia you can on Wikipedia (LOVE that site).  I have a few of them and coupled with me having gone through this before I think a few days of iron is what I need.  I’m not going on something long term and my plan is to do two or three more days of one pill then MAKE SURE I take my multi-vitamin daily (I’ve been slacking hardcore since last winter or so).  Someone also asked if I knew what the root cause is and for me is likely menstruation with no intake of high iron sources to replace it.

And don’t worry: if this persists much longer I will make an appointment with my doctor.

Despite many of you saying that you’d nix a hard workout for the rest of the week (and I didn’t get any of those messages until after I did this morning’s workout! Oops!) I wanted a do-over.  Yes I know there are no such things as do-overs in life but whatever. I can try.

Yesterday’s rain was only that: rain.  No storm and no blowing over of houses.  Bummer.  But what it DID do was give New England the fall that it should be having at the moment.  When I awoke this morning (after SOUND sleeping. YAY) it was about 53* and 56% humidity.  Talk about weather quickly changing! Very nice to sleep in and very nice to run in as well.  I debated putting off the run until after getting something to eat in me but decided against it because I didn’t want my brain to do any negative or doubt-y talk.  So I laced up my shoes and off I went.

While I know I said yesterday that I was going to not think about doing mile repeats (which had been on the docket yesterday) that was what I wanted to do.  Yes I am crazy and a glutton for punishment.  And I knew that I wanted to do them on an actual track.  This made the warm up (and down after) a bit longer than I’d have ideally liked but I knew that going to the track would really help my mental game.

How can you not channel them when you're on the track? (and all images in this post are google images)

It was also a bit scary because I used the TM for pretty much all the Boston training speed work I did.  So I was off on my own and, in my mind, flying blind!


  • Warm up (~3.7 miles)
  • 4 X 1 mile (target pace 7:00) with ~1/2 mile recovery
  • 1 X 400 m (unknown target pace because I haven’t done these in forever! Maybe close to 6:00 pace?) with 400m recovery
  • Warm down (~3.7 miles)

THE ACTUAL WORKOUT (dun dun dunnnnnnnnnn):

Warm up: 3.7 miles @ 9:24

Ouch.  I knew that my pace was slow and I’m glad that I didn’t do any mental math to figure out HOW slow I was.  I think I’d have bailed on the workout again

Mile 1: 6:43 (recovery = 4:56)

SLOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOW.  At least that’s how it felt.  I thought I was doing a 7:30 or even closer to 8:00 pace.  When I finished and saw sub-7, my first thought was I skipped out on the last lap! This did not feel as fast as I’d have thought a 6:45 to be.

Mile 2: 6:38 (4:45)

Starting this repeat I had the doubt that I missed a lap during mile 1 so I checked the split at the 800m mark and it was 3:19.  Yep I am fast.  This was exciting but sooooooo scary to see. I’m not used to seeing those times on my own on the track!

Mile 3: 6:43 (4:50)

I now had the boost of two good solid fast repeats under my belt and since I was on #3 out of 4, I was half way there! My legs did sort of wax and wane a bit but I stayed strong.

During this mile’s recovery a girl who, I’m guessing here, was on the high school XC team (there was some kind of team practicing on the track) was doing her own recovery going the opposite was as me.  And as she passed me, she looked at me shyly and said “you’re a really good runner“.  This absolutely MELTED my heart and I squeaked out a thank you.

Mile 4: 6:49 (4:50)

I had thought the girl’s comment would put some pep in my step but this ended up being the slowest mile.  My legs were pretty fatigued at this point.

400m: 85.63 seconds, which is a 5:41 pace (2:29)

Death. Vomit. Hamstrings very weak.  But I did check the split at the 200m mark and it was 44 seconds.  Meaning I negative splitted a 400m sprint.  Impressive? Maybe. I’ve always been told that the goal of a 400m is to go out hard and try to hold on.  Not progress like I did.  But I was happy with it because it HURT but felt AMAZING.

I don’t know if only doing one of them was worthwhile. I think I mostly did it as a mental thing.  It would have been nice if I could have done another 2 or 3 after.  But I didn’t want to!

Warm down: 3.9 miles @ 9:07

Decent. The beginning miles were uphill (GAH) and were no faster than a walk despite having warmed down for a quarter mile after the 400m.  I ended up finishing up the run on the pathway which was a nice way to end the hard workout I just completed.


Or not.

Success? I think so.  I’m a bit perplexed at the “easiness” of the mile repeats though as I was never close to the target of 7:00. I’m not truly complaining here as I’ve always targeted 7:00 – 7:15 pace as acceptable.  It’s kind of exciting to be sub that, although I did just check what McMillian (which is what I’ve based my paces off in the past) says about mile repeats when I plug in my recent 5k time: 6:15-6:30 for middle distance runners and 6:23-6:37 for long distance.  I was hovering above that today.

That said, I checked the 800m splits for #2,3,4 and they were all slower than the second 800m.  Not by much (I’d still say I did a pretty even pacing job) but I never bombed in the second half.  Encouraging. Although next time I might have to push a little harder 😉

But for the 400m sprint I did McMillian says that for mid-distance runners the target is 86-89 seconds and for long distance runners the target is 87-92 seconds.  And I was under that.  I’m not quite sure what that says about me as a runner.  I’ve always thought that my strength was the looooooong stuff.  But maybe the shorter stuff is just more familiar to me so I really go at it (I’m a sprinter by training: 100m and 200m in high school).

Interesting too is the fact that, based on my 5k time — which isn’t always the most accurate at all in predicting marathon time — McMillian says I can run a 3:14 marathon. HA (although this time give a 1:32 half time which is really close to my current pr).  With my recent half pr I can run a 3:18. HA again. Although it makes me want to sign up for one now 🙂

Regardless this was a great boost for me! I’m going to do another speed workout sometime next week.  Nothing as hard as the hills of this week or the mile repeats of today but just something to keep it in my head that I am FAST and STRONG and AMAZING.

That is all.

Hope everyone has a great rest of your Saturday! I have a friend who is coming into the city later this afternoon and this evening to hang out with me.  And possibly do a short run with me (<4 miles) too. Hopefully I can find the time to lounge for the rest of the day (not too hard with SUN and FALL WEATHER and a GREAT BOOK on the BALCONY!)  If we do end up running I’ll very likely take the day off tomorrow as I can tell my miles for this week are pretty high already!



  1. Awesome job on the track workout. I feel like you could run a 3:18 marathon right now….Go do it :>

    Comment by sarah — October 2, 2010 @ 13:14

  2. You might want to get your iron levels checked by a professional. Just my suggestion.

    Great job on the workout though! You are still a BAMF 🙂

    Comment by Matt — October 2, 2010 @ 13:20

    • A very good suggestion. If nothing improves in the next few days my next stop was going to be my doctor anyway!

      Comment by marathonmaiden — October 2, 2010 @ 13:33

      • Good idea! I am sure it is nothing and you are just a little tired. Just watchin out for ya 😉

        Comment by Matt — October 2, 2010 @ 13:37

  3. Sweet redemption! Great that you could brush off any guilty feelings about nixing the workout by busting out a great one today. When you said you were targeting 7:00 pace, I have to admit that I raised my eyebrows. You are much stronger than you realize and I’m glad this workout showed you that…

    Comment by sweatykid — October 2, 2010 @ 13:57

  4. great job!!! i also killed a track workout today 🙂 you’ll have to wait til monday to see it tho:) teeeeeeease 🙂

    i think you should run your mile repeats faster!!!!!!!!! don’t hate me for saying that. but really it’s a compliment, i just think you can do them faster 🙂 you could do 3 x 1600 next time and try to hit 6:30. i mean your road mile workouts are that fast.

    i totally did not know you were a short dist sprinter in HS?!?! wowzers!!! that’s awesome that you have all of that + now distance wrapped up inside of you 🙂

    last thing- i totally take iron. my birth control is microgestin fe, so the “off week” is a week of iron pills. i didn’t take them for so long but saved all the old packs, so since this summer i have started taking them every day. i approve of this. 🙂 xoxo!! happy saturday!!!!

    Comment by Lacey — October 2, 2010 @ 14:12

    • I agree! 6:4X should be a tempo pace for you. Mile repeats should be around 5K pace. In any case, way to git er done, yo,

      Comment by sarah — October 2, 2010 @ 20:55

      • Really? 6:4X tempo? I remember doing tempos for my last marathon and it was a struggle to get them to 7:15

        Comment by marathonmaiden — October 6, 2010 @ 15:06

  5. It looks like a very well deserved compliment! that WAS a bad a** workout!

    hi! new follower here =)

    Comment by hotlegsrunner — October 2, 2010 @ 16:39

  6. for me the mcmillan paces (training and race predictions) have always seemed pretty spot on from 3K up to half marathon, but there’s no way I could run a marathon or a 1500 as fast as my other PRs suggest, at least not from equivalent training. I also know people whose data match from 1500 to 5K only, and some that are close all the way from 5K to marathon. it depends so much on both your body’s natural strengths and the type of workouts.

    it might take you a couple weeks to get used to it, but for four mile repeats, I would typically shoot for in between current fitness 5K and 10K pace (so 6:30-6:40 seems fine), and drop down to 1/4 mile (2:30) recovery. actually, I’m pretty sure I’ll be doing that or something very similar next wednesday.

    I’m also amazed than you ran the 100/200. You would KILL me in short reps then. I have literally never run a 200 in under 36 or a 400 in under 75, which, if you put THAT into the mcmillan calculator, suggests I should run a 5K over two minutes slower than I actually can :O !

    Comment by kristinschleicher — October 2, 2010 @ 17:40

    • Wow I am slow to reply to comments! Really 1/4 mile recovery? I feel like I’d be dying! I guess I’d adapt eventually….but it’s hard to wrap my mind around it. I picked 1/2 miles because my last marathon training plan had 4 minutes rest and 1/2 mile is an even distance that’s around 4 minutes

      Comment by marathonmaiden — October 6, 2010 @ 15:04

  7. What a coincidence, I also did 4×1 mile yesterday (on a track that actually had the line for where the mile race starts marked. So much easier than just running four laps and taking an extra 6-7 steps for a true mile). I’m not surprised those felt easy though. I like to do threshold mile repeats about 20 or so seconds slower than 5k pace. For you that would be right around 6:46. But with threshold work, it’s slow enough that you don’t need all that rest. The point of the workout is to accumulate blood lactate and have that level remain fairly constant for the duration so your body can’t ever clear it until you’re done. Taking about 1:00 recovery per 5:00 of running is a good rule of thumb. So for mile repeats, I take a minute. It makes the last few less than comfortable but that’s the point. Miles are a little too long to do VO2 max focused work, so I’d try either cutting a lap and doing about equal run/rest time or shortening your recoveries.

    As for the calculators, it seems you’re better at shorter distances, at least for now. Those kind of calculators are good for showing you what could be possible at your current fitness level IF you focused specifically on that. You haven’t really been focusing on the longer races this fall and that’s probably why your 5k PR looks stronger than your half. With more time (and miles), those numbers are definitely achievable.

    Comment by runningmanz — October 2, 2010 @ 18:23

    • I think that shorter recovery would be a good thing but I think that only 1 minute would make the next repeat a recovery repeat! I picked 1/2 mile because in my last marathon training plan the rest was 4 minutes and 1/2 mile is roughly that timeframe and an even distance to do on the track.

      Comment by marathonmaiden — October 6, 2010 @ 15:05

      • Maybe start at 400 (2:30) and work down to a true threshold workout. The thing about the rest is that if you’re running the right pace, 1:00 recovery should be all you need, plus that little rest will allow blood lactate levels to remain constant instead of clearing (that’ll help you raise your lactate threshold). If you don’t feel like you’re recovering enough or you can’t maintain pace on subsequent repeats, you’re doing the miles too fast.

        Comment by runningmanz — October 6, 2010 @ 18:18

  8. Hardcore, as always 🙂 Hope the iron does the trick! The RD in me has to put my 2 cents in, though you sound like you’re well informed already, but anyway- careful about too much iron too fast or you’ll stomach’ll hate you (sometimes 1/2 a pill is good), make sure your multivitamin has iron it (most don’t because men don’t need extra), and eat (or take) iron with orange juice (or anything vitamin c) so you absorb it. Ok done now- hope you feel better!

    Comment by Heather @ Side of Sneakers — October 3, 2010 @ 10:46

  9. So fast! I’m anemic too, and take iron supplements, but I don’t feel different taking them. I wish they would instantly make me feel energized instead of light headed and such…

    Comment by Megan @ The Daily Sweat — October 3, 2010 @ 11:18

  10. wow.. great track work out. Way to go

    Comment by chris — October 3, 2010 @ 11:40

  11. that definitely sounds like a hardcore workout to me! way to go w/ those sub 7 miles…you are amazing!

    Comment by emily — October 3, 2010 @ 14:42

  12. Nice job! The iron pills will take weeks to actually make a difference, so this was all you. I don’t feel like a 5k can be used to predict a marathon, but a half sure can so I wouldn’t rule out the 3:18 on a good day.

    Comment by Jess — October 3, 2010 @ 15:18

    • That 3:18 would have to be on a VERY good day. That’s 17 minutes faster than I am now!

      Comment by marathonmaiden — October 6, 2010 @ 15:08

  13. Wow great job on the intervals! Macmillan predicts my long distance times faster than I ever feel I could go according to my 5k times. I always figured it must be cause I was better at short distances but maybe it’s just like that!

    Comment by Laura — October 3, 2010 @ 18:35

  14. Great job on the workout!! Totally wish I could do one of those right now!! Did you actually stop and rest for those 4 mins after the miles or were you jog recovering?? I honestly love doing all interval workouts on the track and so its going to be hard to get used to running on the treadmill again this winter.

    Comment by J — October 4, 2010 @ 09:38

    • I jogged those 4 minutes, although they were more than 4 minutes as I was jogging 1/2 miles. And I think I like the track more than the TM too. Luckily I am too cheap to spring for a gym membership (ugh to not having my college gym!) and hopefully the track gets shovelled? Unlikely though 😦

      Comment by marathonmaiden — October 6, 2010 @ 15:10

  15. Don’t doubt yourself. I think a 3:14 or a 3:18 is more than possible for you! Seriously! You’re a great runner!! I go to the track every Wednesday and I have gone sub 7 (barely) for 3 mile repeats. I’ve never run 4, nor have I ever run that long of a warm up before hand. Oh … and I don’t think they’re easy AT ALL!!!

    Anyway, keep it up!! Or move to FL … so you can train me! 🙂

    Comment by Jaime — October 5, 2010 @ 08:42

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