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Well, hello, there, speedwork

January 13, 2009

It’s been a long time since these legs have seen any speedwork. Since the knee/hip/hammie pain started, I made the decision to cut back on the intensity of my training since I didn’t want to cut back on the mileage. My once-weekly speedwork was shelved.

However, after the last few runs, my legs are back. I’ve started to think that it’s time to reintroduce speedwork. Though I don’t intend to race the marathon, speedwork trains the legs, the heart, and the lungs for more than just speed.

The original training schedule called for good old mile repeats today, but I thought running at 7:35 pace might be tough. I looked at Glover’s training schedule and he suggested longer intervals–maybe 1.5 or 2 mile intervals instead, run at 5k or 10k pace.

Now, my pace in that 10k was 7:55, but I couldn’t possibly run a 50-minute 10k today, so my goal was between 8:15 and 8-minute miles, with half-mile recoveries. I set out for three repeats, with a one-mile warm-up and one-mile cool-down, for an eight-mile total*.

The legs are tired, not surprising coming off a 20-miler. And having gotten used to doing mostly mile repeats for my intervals, I’ll confess that doing a mile and a half felt interminably long. The first interval came in at an 8:14 pace. The second, 8:09; the last, 7:45.

I’m not very good at pacing myself evenly, but I’m getting better, and speedwork days are all about that. They’re days not to get distracted by the ipod or even by wandering thoughts, but to really engage with the act of running–to pay attention to stride, breathing, and rhythm, to pay attention to how the body feels running at a certain pace. I still have a lot to learn about holding pace.

It’s nice to get back to speedwork; speed can feel a lot like my natural home. I’m not sure marathons will ever feel like my thing, though I’m sure I’ll be glad to hang that medal in a prominent place.

In gear news, wore the Mizunos today and I don’t love them. They’re light, sure, but I’m not sure that they offer enough support.

*Of course, the route I picked turned out to be a nine-mile route, so I got rather more distance than I planned . . . Since I’m supposed to be taking it easy on these non-20-miler weeks and today was a tough workout, I think I may take tomorrow off.

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