Last night, Ingrid and I decided to go rogue and run somewhere off the streets and unexpected. We ran on a track. With longstanding plans for a Tuesday night swim at the Wilson Aquatic Center, we stepped it up a notch and threw a track workout in the mix. I call it double sweat Tuesday.
I had a nice walk from work to Tenleytown and, as I sat waiting for Ingrid, I read about track repeats in my Run Less Run Faster book. I chose to do one of the beginner workouts: 10-20 minute warmup, 8 x 400 w/400m RI (rest intervals), 10 minute cooldown. There is a chart in the book indicating what speed you should run various track lengths based on your goal speed for a particular race. If I want to run a 10k at an 8:30 pace, I should run the 400 meter in 1:53 on each repeat.
In case that didn't make any sense, here is how it went down:
Ingrid and I ran two slow warm-up laps together. Then I took off and ran a fast lap by myself. When I reached the end of the lap, I turned around to meet up with her and we ran a "rest interval" lap together. When the slow lap was done, I took off again for another speedy 400 meters. We repeated this 8 times and then ran two cool-down laps. Somehow, my 400 meter splits were coming out faster than 1:53. I tried to slow down but felt comfortable and I kept finishing around 1:35.
My Garmin seems to have been a little confused about going around in circles because my 400 meter splits all read below a quarter of a mile. But it still did a good job of recording the time of each lap.
Ingrid's groins were irritating her so I couldn't get her to do the speed work with me. But still, we'd each run 5 miles and we had some more sweating to do. We ventured into the aquatic center and got our swim on. The lanes were set up at 50 meters which is always more challenging for me. When I have to swim for that long without a break, I have a hard time working on my form because I get out of breath and am concentrating on not drowning.
It really amazes me that I am in perfectly good shape to run 4.5 miles and do all of these sub-7 minute splits, yet I get out of breath swimming 50 meters. Having gotten a sufficient cardio workout on the track, I didn't push too hard in the pool. I probably swam 600-8000 meters total and took a lot of breaks at the end of the lane while Ingrid showed off her stellar form and lung capacity.
Apparently I wasn't kidding when I said that Wilson High School is quickly becoming one of my favorite places to sweat. After yesterday, it definitely is. I always thought that running on a track is boring but I've discovered that 1. if you bring a friend, it's not; and 2. if you use the track to your advantage to enhance your speed and ability, it is actually an amazing place to run. Now that it is dark at noon (5:15 really, but it might as well be noon), I plan to spend more of my weeknights getting my sweat on at Wilson.
I'm curious- do you run on a track? Do you have any favorite speed work exercises?