MarathonMaiden's Blog

November 21, 2010

“This Is A Workout To Put You On The Podium”

Filed under: Uncategorized — Tags: , , , , , , , — marathonmaiden @ 12:17

Or so the high school cross country coach was telling his boys Saturday when I was at the track.  As I didn’t run XC ever I don’t know what championship they’re gearing up for but whatever it is: Good Luck Boys. I think they were doing 1km repeats.

My workout on Saturday was no less shabby either.  After some thought, and reading the awesome words from you guys, I decided to not do a full yasso workout.  Bummer because it really might be my favorite.  I knew the best workout for me to do would likely be my “other favorite” workout: 2 X 3 miles.  But I had done that last week and, while I have absolutely no problem repeating workouts from the immediate past, this workout is one that won’t ever be the case with.

I decided to split the difference and do a shorter tempo interval workout with a couple 800s tacked on at the end if I wasn’t feeling too beat up.  I did them on the track because the track keeps me honest and honest workouts make me feel like a million bucks for not a million bucks.  With non-track workouts I can have mitigating circumstances as to why I didn’t hit the target and, while wind and plain old not feeling it do happen with the track, there really are only two options: hit or miss

Thanks XKCD

You can’t really go wrong. Or I guess you can.  But it’s painfully obvious.

The Plan

  • Warmup
  • 1 Mile fast, with 400 recovery
  • 2 X 2 Miles fast, with 800 recovery after each one
  • 1 mile fast, with 400 recovery

And then if I felt halfway decent

  • 2-4 800m, with 400 recovery
  • Warm down

If you look closely, you’ll notice that, with the exception of the 800 repeats, the recovery distance has been shortened by what I normally do.  I usually do half the distance but today I decided to do only a quarter of the interval distance.  It’s probably too soon to the actual race to be messing with this kind of stuff but time was an issue and there is no way that I’m cutting out intervals.  I like running fast too much 😉

The target pace for the 1 miles was 6:45-6:50 and the target pace for the 2 miles was 13:30-13:45.  I was expecting to be on the slower end of these paces simply because my legs have taken a beating these past 4 or so weeks.  Of course I *should* have been targeting slower paces because this workout constitutes a GMP workout.  And neither 6:45 nor 6:50  is GMP.  But whatever.

I was on the track. I was ready to GO.

The Workout

I warmed up for about 3 or so miles to get to the track and then:

  • 1 Mile : 6:47

Only 6:47?! For the effort put it, this should be faster. I definitely positive splited this one too

  • 2 Miles: 13:34 (6:53, 6:41)

6:53? This is going to be one long tough workout.  13:43? That’s a pretty sweet comeback.

  • 2 Miles: 13:31 (6:43, 6:38)

This is feeling gooooooood.  Should I add that last mile here? 1,2,3 would be wicked awesome

  • 1 Mile: 6:40

Good solid last mile

  • 800 #1: 3:15

Maybe I didn’t give it my all for those other intervals!

  • 800#2 3:20

Or maybe I did.  Time to pack it up hahah

The Afterthoughts

I’m really happy with how this workout turned out.  I hit goals (and were even faster than goals) for all the intervals. Surprising because I was going on less recovery than I normally do.  It was definitely a challenging workout and despite not feeling it at the beginning I really got into it and was just clicking away at the laps as they went by.  It felt very rhythmic and awesome. And, as I’ve said before about me needing paces shoved down my throat, each one was within McMillian tempo interval range. Muy bien.

Plus, with the exception of the very first mile, each interval was a negative split.  And since I checked my watch every 2 laps (not sure if that counts as a half mile as it 800m ~ 1/2 mile.  See how much of a precision nerd I am? It’s a wonder I made it out of college with my physics degree — physicists tend to round EVERYTHING) I knew that, again with the exception of the very first interval, I was getting faster and faster.

Obviously this bodes well for a marathon as it’s a pretty freaking long race.

Not else much to say.  Usually bad workouts are so much more fun to write about because I can bitch and moan. I can mutter about the sky being all dreary and looking like a colorless winter day buttttt then I have to say that I triumphed over it hahah.

I think part of me was competing with the high school boys.  Which is silly. They are *highschoolboys*.  I’ve learned from running with my high school aged brother that they are naturally faster than me.  So I tried to not get lapped / passed.  I was very successful as they only passed me once.  Considering that we were both doing long intervals, and running around the track multiple times each interval, I think that’s a victory hahah.

I did use their coach’s shouting as motivation of my own.  He kept saying things related to getting on the podium like, “200m ’til you on the podium” or “two laps to go until the podium”.  And I was like, “Okay.  It’d be cool to be at the podium.” Although, not going to lie, breaking the tape would be more ultimate.


Look how happy he is. (thanks again google)

After taking a shorter-than-normal warm down I got back to my place for some foam rolling (this workout had my hips and glutes and IT and quads and everything screaming and tight). It was still the vomit-inducing torture it always is. I don’t ever tear up or scream out but man, do I feel like puking.  I also stretched while watching an old HP movie because my left calf was spasm-ing.  Normally I don’t stretch ever.  But I’ve already said that before.  I discovered (again) that all my muscles are like chicken tendons. Weird analogy but that was the first thing that popped into my head.

I also did W2D3 of my pushups and situps:

Pushups: 16, 17, 14, 14, 21

Situps: 24, 25, 21, 21, 35


As far as today goes, I’ve already done my recovery run.  It was quite fast which, as I mentioned on Friday, doesn’t real mean much.  The pace was comfortable and conversational as when I was running I met up with my running buddy.  Unplanned and it probably let the run get both fast and easy; running with someone else usually does that. The weather was chilly (34*) but sunny which helped the miles click by effortlessly.  My legs feel sore, but in a “they just had a massage” way.  I think it was the rolling last night.  It was pretty intense.

Hope everyone enjoys the remainder of their weekend and had great ones to recover from! I’m definitely looking forward to a lazy Sunday.

October 23, 2010

Exceeds Expectations

Filed under: Uncategorized — Tags: , , , , — marathonmaiden @ 13:24

As promised, a more exciting post than the one about my library card.  Not going to lie though: I’m still pretty excited about that.

Plus I can’t say “exceeds expectations” without thinking of HP. And then getting excited about it coming out. So already this post is more exciting than previously.

Today is not a Harry Potter day though and I exceeded my own expectations (which I’ve written that word several times already in this post and spellcheck has had to correct me each time! Oops.) with my workout.  Like I mentioned yesterday many of my fellow bloggers have been making me feel majorly guilty about my lack of speed work. Not intentionally of course, but through reading their posts it was making me more-than-acutely aware that my last date with the track was 3 weeks ago to the day.

I did tell myself when the alarm went off that I could skip it because I’m not training for anything.  But I guess it was about time to “nut up or shut up”.


I do have to say that I have a love/hate with the track.  It’s actually starting to grow on me and I’ll be sad when winter comes and plops 2 feet of snow on top of it.  I mean, I loved the TM for speed last winter but there’s something satisfying about hitting a time on your own.  Assuming, of course, that you can hit the times you want.

Lacey told me in her comment to my post yesterday to do 800s.  I didn’t get the comment until AFTER the workout but the originally plan *was* to steal the workout that Jess did earlier this week because I like it and she’s a fast runner. Yay Lacey for being on the same brainwave as me.  And yay Jess for making me want to run fast. I figured that to be fast you need to train like you’re fast so what’s good for her is going to be good for me.  Well that was the hope.

  • Warm up (aka jog to the track)
  • 6 X 800m (with 400m jogging recovery)
  • Warm down (aka jog home)

According to McMillian my 800 speed workout could range from 3:02.5 to 3:15.2, depending on which recent race I used in the calculator.  With my half time of 1:33:58, the range was 3:06.5 to 3:15.2.  Since I’ve NEVER done 800 repeats on my own before (hello TM!) I wasn’t sure what to aim for, so I figured that hitting the upper end of the range was good (and to me that hundredths of a second doesn’t really mean anything to me, so as long as I didn’t see 3:16 then I considered the target hit) .

How’d I do?

THE WORKOUT (italics are my thoughts during the run/interval.  Normal font is post-run reflection.)

1st: 3:08.13

Holy @#$%.  That was fast.

2nd: 3:15.57

Whoa there. Clearly that first one was a bit trigger happy hahah.  This one felt much slower and I was worried that I had killed the workout with that first one.

3rd: 3:15.16

After this one half-way there! On the slower end but within what I wanted.

4th: 3:11.38

*Breathe* okay I can do this. It was actually starting to feel “easy” at this point.  Not effortless but I was feeling good in getting into a rhythm over the 800m

5th: 3:12.66

Shut up kids! There was some little kid soccer team practicing on the infield and one of the twerps shouted “hey weird runner! Keep running!”. Did I mention that I hate kids?  It took the utmost willpower not to shout something back.  It also made me wish that the high school girl from 3 weeks ago was there to tell me I was a good runner.

6th: 3:12.31

Heyyyyyy.  This isn’t so bad.  Let’s see how many I can do before my legs give in to fatigue!

At this point I knew I was done with the workout and that anything else would be icing on the cake.  I decided to do more until my times dropped off.

7th: 3:13.94

Okay so maybe I lied and my legs are almost done.  Let’s try one more to see if that was a fluke?

8th: 3:13.63

Oh hey there lactic acid!

9th: 3:11.28

Just. Hold. On. I really couldn’t tell you why I kept pressing on.  Maybe because 10 X 800 is that golden standard? But I’m VERY happy I did because this repeat was a good one.

10th: 3:11.53

So was this one.  Even though my times for the repeats never fell off I decided to make this one the last one.  My legs hurt more than the normal lactic acid build up, like the borderline of actual hurt.  And my recovery jog after this one was ~10 seconds slower than the previous 9 (they had all been in the 2:20 range and this one was 2:30.  Total time between intervals might have been an additional 20-30 seconds because I stopped to record times) so I figured it was time to call it a day.



So I’m really happy with this workout.  I give myself a B+ for it.  (and since I’m a perfectionist that’s likely the highest grade I’ll EVER give myself!).

Repeats #8, 9, 10 were HARD.  I honestly thought that they were going to be in the 3:20 range.

But, yeah, really happy with this one.  If I remember correctly I did a 3 X (4 X 800m) workout during Boston training (aka 3 sets of four 800m repeats with 5 minutes recovery between sets, for a grand total of 12 repeats) and the pace for those was done in 7:08 pace, or 3:34 for the 800.  Sure I only did 10 today but they were FASTER and ON THE TRACK.

And there was some annoying adult fitness group that came and walking laps around the track and I had to dodge them.  I think that the last one could have been faster if I hadn’t literally run into one of the women.  Honestly though, if you heard the shouts (granted they were breathless shouts) of “Watch Lane One”, what would you do? Stay in Lane One?

Oh well.  I still rocked this workout.  My hips are telling me so! Like screaming such at me.

I think that it’s going to be a stretch, *foamroll* and read those library books rest of the afternoon. At least until my roomie wakes up and we can possibly decide of baking something.

And then going out tonight to “shake out my legs” hahah! I was thinking of taking an ice bath butttttttttttt we currently do not have any ice made in the freezer and I am FAR too cheap to go out and buy a bag or two. I gotta save for a destination marathon 😉

So this is getting long and it’s Saturday.  Lots of relaxing to go do!

December 29, 2009

Intervals, Hills and Massages. Oh My!

Filed under: Uncategorized — Tags: , , , , , — marathonmaiden @ 15:12

Yesterday (Monday) was a whirlwind day.  I was on the go from 0800 to 2300! Whew.

I obviously still managed to get a run in though.  I ran first thing because I knew how busy it was going to be plus we were supposed to get (and did get in fact) a rain/snow storm in the late morning/early afternoon.  So timing was perfect.  I set out for 8 miles but for some reason thought that 11 was more appropriate? And I am totally bumming that I didn’t keep track of how far I was going because I did this run on autopilot and I really did want to slowly lower my mileage down.  But it was a good run albeit on the slow side because I wasn’t paying attention to anything.  I really don’t think I could really tell you where I even ran to be honest.

And just a note about the crazy ass New England weather: I was driving on the highway and I started out in rain close to my house, it changed back and forth between rain and snow then I hit whiteout conditions.  On the highway!! Now it wasn’t that scary because I’ve done that before but after about 20 minutes it’s was like I hit a curtain and SUN on the other side.  Freaking crazy how the highway can be such a divisor of weather patterns.

Now onto today.  I was planning on doing intervals (or any type of speedwork really) yesterday but since I was choosing to run in the morning, in prep for a packed day, I didn’t want to feel rushed or anything so I put it off.  I also was feeling a little sore from lifting on Sunday (although not as sore as I thought I would be.  Better shape that I thought? Yes!). So it fell onto today.  Which I’m not too upset about because, although I still have yet to pick out a plan (and 16 weeks was YESTERDAY), both the plans I’m thinking of, Boston Bound and BAA Veteran (any insight would be helpful in my decision making process and my thoughts on the subject are here), have an interval/speed/hill type thing on Tuesdays so I figured why not set a tone now.

Although looking at the workout you’d think that I was in training right now.  Which to anyone wondering (I know AMarathoner asked earlier) I’m not quite sure how I’m reconciling the high miles I’m doing now with what a potential training program will ask.  What I think I’ll do is (hopefully *fingerscrossed*) take the next 4 weeks to back off and then start back up again.  The BAA one has the potential to get high mileage, like roughly where I am now, and the Higdon one looks lower mileage but I think I can add safely to both of those if I feel necessary; I have such a high base already.

So here’s the workout: I channeled Jess because I remember her doing both intervals AND hills in the same workout. And just an interesting note I had this song in my head the whole time heh. That man can do no wrong in my eyes!

  • Warm up
  • 2 X [ 4 X 800] @ 10k pace with 90 sec recovery between 800s and 5 minutes recovery between sets
  • 4 X 800 m hills with 90 seconds between hills (and 5 minutes between last 800 set and first hill)
  • Warm down

I did do this on a treadmill because it was wicked windy out AND in the teens, soooo not conducive to fast running, but whatever.  I still feel like a bamf!  I ended up running the 800s a little faster than 10k pace — more like what I want my 10k pace to be (703 min/mi vs 715 min/mi).  And both the distances for the 800s and recovery were loose.  Since I was on a tm sometimes I wanted to start or end the recovery on an even number or whatever so I took the liberty to do that.  Same with the hills. I don’t know if I can call these Yassos or not.  For one thing there was that 5 minute recovery between repeat 4 and 5.  I think that’s a no-no in Mr. Yassos book but whatever.  I felt that it was still a good solid workout. I’m happy with the pacing too because, although the first one felt like death, the rest felt good and I had to resist the urge to go faster.  As I had 8 total I didn’t want to burn myself out and not be able to finish.

As for the hills.  They were tough.  Yes they were done after the 800s but I think they would have been tough on their own.  I designed this workout myself and I wrote down 400m hills but after the 800 repeats I think that’s just what my brain was used to, so I got about a mile more in that originally planned.  Which I could not for the life of me figure out why my mileage ticker on the tm was more than I thought it should be. And yes I consider math a strength of mine haha. (Interestingly enough I think I ended up doing a 5th 800 on the last set because I can’t count!) I did the hills at 4% incline (is is an appropriate hill setting? Gosh I feel like such a noob!) and the first one was tough! They got easier after that but man that first one almost killed me I think.  But then again the first anything is really tough IMO.

When I was done my face was beet red! But like I mentioned, I felt so bad-ass! There were also a bunch of people staring both during the workout and after.  I guess not many people can fathom running on the treadmill for as long as I did / actually do a real hard workout on the darn thing (or anywhere really).  But I take pride in that.  I wanted to shout to everyone: “I’M RUNNING THE BOSTON MARATHON!!” but I figured that would make me seem like a braggart (does anyone even use that word or am I the only one?) so I didn’t.  I just smiled back at them and hit the next interval or hill hard.

One of the other reasons I did this workout today was because I’m actually getting a massage soon! Even though I’m not a fan of the post-massage soreness the next day I love the feeling of a massage.  It’s definitely not relaxing for me but I love when my friend works on my legs and I can feel tension and “gunk” (lactic acid etc.) being released and my muscles loosening up. So I wanted to hit my body hard and then get it worked on 🙂

Which I probably should leave for like NOW! Enjoy your Tuesday’s everyone.  Stay warm in you’re in the NorthEast (or anywhere else that’s cold too!) and stay cool if you’re somewhere warm.  Although don’t tell me that because I may have to hunt you down haha!

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