My first date with the track
Guest Blog by Oiselle team member Megan Fay.
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:
- Don't be afraid of the track, no one cares what you're doing.
- It will be hard, bu what doesn't kill you makes you stronger, right?
- Don't go all out on your first workout. Ease into it, your legs will thank you.
- 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.
- Be dang proud of yourself after every workout.