July 26, 2011

My first date with the track

Guest Blog by Oiselle team member Megan Fay.

Megan is a runner, triathlete and over all bad-ass. She just biked from Seattle to Portland (yes, really). She blogs at Daily Sweat, tweets as @dailysweat...follow her for sweat-spiration.

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

This year I’ve been on a quest – the quest to run faster. I’ve been running for a handful of years now, but this year is the first that I’ve wanted to get faster. I had heard about this thing called speedwork, but I have not come from a running background so I really didn’t know what I should do. I consulted running magazines, blogs and friends, and they all said the same thing – track workouts.

The only time I have ever ran on a track is when I was in middle and high school and they forced me to run a mile, so going back to the track brought all those lovely memories alive. Luckily, I was ready to make some new memories, speedy memories.

My first track workout consisted of a half mile warm up, 8 x 400 meters with roughly 2 minutes rest between and half mile cool down. I calculated my 400 meter pace with the McMillian Running Calculator (1:50-1:55), but since I have never ran that fast, I had no idea what that should feel like. The first lap was way too fast, but was able to adjust the following laps and was pleasantly surprised when I looked down at my Garmin and saw that I hit my goal times each lap. Don’t get me wrong though, by the end of the 6th 400 I thought I was going to puke, my quads were burning in ways I didn’t think possible and I was keeled over panting like a dog.

In hindsight, I probably could have stopped after 6 laps, being that it was my first track battle and I should probably ease into it, but my perseverance got the best of me and I pulled the energy to do 2 more laps out of somewhere then walked my half mile cool down.

I was exhausted after that workout. I had never pushed myself that hard running before and my legs were agreeing with me. Although the soreness set in pretty quickly, I had this proud sense of accomplishment – I just did a track workout! I was so proud that my body stuck with me and hit those crazy fast (for me) paces!

The next day, I was so, so sore. I tried to go on an easy 3 mile run, but my quads were screaming at me. The soreness lasted a couple days, but was able to get in a good run 3 days after-the-fact.

Since that initial workout, I have kept a pretty consistent weekly date with the track and I’m definitely getting a return on my investment in speed workouts. I’ve varied my workouts, doing a variety of 400s, 800s and 1200s and now my easy runs average 15-30 seconds faster per mile than they were before I started going to the track and my legs are able to deal with pushing harder a lot easier. Plus, I now know I CAN run fast, albeit short distances, but just knowing has helped me dig deeper and pull those faster paces out in races.

I’m not a seasoned runner that can give expert advice on starting a speed regime, but I can offer my thoughts on beginning track workouts:

  1. Don't be afraid of the track, no one cares what you're doing.
  2. It will be hard, bu what doesn't kill you makes you stronger, right?
  3. Don't go all out on your first workout. Ease into it, your legs will thank you.
  4. Be consistent with your speed workouts - you'll get faster a lot quicker than you think with regular workouts. And you won't get as sore if you keep them up.
  5. Be dang proud of yourself after every workout.
Love This
77 users have voted.

Comments

Laura | August 12, 2011 at 11:41am

Speed

I know you wrote this more than a couple of weeks ago but what a great post. I'm fairly new to running and have been trying to do a weekly speed run.  Your comments give me encouragment to just go for it when I have a speed work out. Thanks!