Slow and Steady Wins the Race

Speed Demon…I am not

on July 29, 2010

Photo courtesy of maHidoodi

Last night I had this grand idea to give speedwork a try.  I have been running for a year and a half now and figured I could start working on my pace and not just my endurance.  I did some looking on the Runner’s World website for some workout ideas.  Some of them seemed really, really complicated.  They were talking about 400’s, 800’s, 1600’s and repeats and I. was. confused.  What’s a 400, 800, 1600?  Turns out a 400 is 400 meters which is roughly 1/4 mile.  Most standard tracks are 400 meters and it is one lap around the track.  So, 800 meters is two laps or about 1/2 mile and 1600 is four laps or 1 mile.  Now that we have that figured out, what is this business about repeats.  From what I gathered you run the distance at a specified time goal, mine is 5 minutes 24 seconds for the 800, rest for a certain distance and then repeat the speed/distance.  You can use this calculator for training pace times.

I settled on doing Yasso 800’s since that seemed the easiest thing for me to remember without having to take a pad of paper and a pencil to the gym with me to prop on the treadmill.  The other workouts I looked at were combinations of distances and times.  I knew I would not be able to remember my time goals for each distance.  The Yasso 800 seemed straight forward and my time goal for the 800 with this method was 5:24.  I thought this was *totally* doable.  A little less than an 11 min/mile pace which I have done and I was planning on doing 4 repeats.  With rest periods in between, I was CERTAIN I could do this!  Ummm, No.

Another thing I learned about Yasso 800’s is that the time you run for the 800 can usually predict your Marathon goal time.  You have to stick with doing 800’s about once a week and it is recommended that you work up to 10 repeats in one session.  I should have taken this as a clue that the 5:24 was going to be VERY hard for me.  You see, I figure I will run the Marathon in a little less than 6 hours based on my finish time of 2:45 for my Half.  Doing the Marathon in 5 hours and 24 minutes would be insanely fast for me.

My first 800 on the treadmill went something like this.  Starting out at a speed of 5.5 mph which is about a 10:54 min/mile pace.  I can do this.  I have run this pace for an entire mile.  3 minutes in still feeling good.  4 minutes in….oookay getting a little tired.  4:30 minutes in…uh oh, side stitch.  5 minutes in…the pain is crippliiiiinggggg.  Ow, ow, ow, ow, ow, ow.  5:24!  Slow down, slow down, slow down.  OHHHHH the pain.

Now, what I read about the rest period confused me and I still don’t know if I did this right.  I think I was supposed to rest for the same amount of time I ran the 800 (5:24) but only cover half the distance in that time (400 meters).  I felt like that was painfully slow and just couldn’t go that slow, so I jogged at 4.5 mph (13 min/mile).  I tried to get rid of the side stitch, but it was still there when I ramped up for my second 800.

The second 800 went like this.  Speed up to 5.5.  I am running.  1 minute in…Here comes the PAIN.  2 minutes in…trying so hard to breathe through it.  The people around me probably thought I was practicing my Lamaze breathing on the treadmill.  I had visions of Bill Cosby doing his stand up routine of his wife giving birth.  If you haven’t seen that, you should.  At 2:30 I QUIT.  I wanted to jump off the treadmill and lay in the fetal position.  My midsection had knives in it.  I walked it out though.

After that I just did some sprints for 2:15 with equal time rest periods in between.  Essentially doing intervals with slow jogging in between instead of walking.

I will conquer the Yasso 800’s.  I probably need to slow them down a good bit.  5:24 is just too fast for me right now.

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4 responses to “Speed Demon…I am not

  1. Lisa says:

    Very interesting. I’ve always shied away from speed work, except for some Fartleks and Tempo runs, simply because the though of running at a prescribed fast pace scares the crap out of me. But the Yasso 800s seem interesting. I think I might give it a try since I’m about 12 weeks away from my half.

    Don’t give up on them just yet, maybe you were just running at too fast a pace.

  2. mannel inc says:

    Ann this picture of you over in the sideline is great. Janet

  3. MizFit says:

    I slowslow and have been encouraged to get to speed work before my halfmarathon.

    I think Ill stay slow 🙂

  4. Lavette Dorn says:

    Unearthed your webblog via bing the other day and absolutely liked it so much. Carry on the excellent work.

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