Tuesday, April 03, 2007

How Much is Enough?

Mystery Coach prescribed an exchange run today, and the speeds were such that I felt more comfortable heading to the track for it. Luckily, Lucas also had some time to put in on the oval so we met up at our favorite strip mall and headed over to the Catalina Foothills High School.

While Lucas knocked out 12x400, I was to do either .75 mile at 6 minute pace followed by .75 mile at 5 minute pace x2 as one continuous run or the same thing with even miles if I felt "fresh". I don't know about you, but most of time I can't figure out whether or not I'm feeling good until I'm about halfway through a workout. Still, I gave myself the benefit of the doubt and started out with miles in mind.

I kept finding myself ahead of the clock on the first mile, and it was with some trepidation I hit the "lap" button at 5:53 and took off with four even 75's in mind. I felt fairly controlled for the mile, hitting fairly even splits between 75 and 76. By the fourth lap I was quite happy when I made it to the final stretch, though I was wondering whether or not I could "recover" with 90 second quarters. I hit the mile at 5:02, and while I had the sensation I was crawling for the next quarter I came through at about 5:50 pace and actually had to slow a bit. The recovery mile came and went quickly, and I actually felt ready to give 5 minute pace another go as I headed into the last 200. Clicking the watch at 5:53 I headed into the turn as I increased my speed. The first lap at 76 didn't hurt as badly as I thought it would, but as I neared the 800 in 2:31 I really started to feel it as the legs started to feel very acidic. About 900 in things started to just not feel right; the arms were tight and fatigued, I was really sucking air and the legs started to really drag along behind me instead of eating up the track in front of me. At 1100 in I knew the second effort would be over at 1200. I crossed the line at 3:47, stopped the watch, and immediately started second-guessing myself.

This had been a good workout, and I had kept very close to the goals I had in mind. But of course if I'm given the choice of 3/4 mile or 1 mile I immediately go for the longer distance and tend to feel a little disappointed if I can't make the grade. As I was thinking about this Lucas was coming up the track on his recovery lap. He had 4x400 left at 75 seconds and I decided to jump in with him. We knocked out the four remaining repeats in 73, 75, 74 and 75, and I honestly felt like I could have done them all day.

The confidence of being able to run four very relaxed 400's after my workout is a bit overshadowed by how I seemed to fall apart at the end of my original effort. This time I didn't feel the evil eye of Mystery Coach though, as I think I've figured out by now that as long as I'm still running relaxed that a little extra time on the track won't hurt.

So I guess I'm left with figuring out where I am. I'm responding well and bouncing back after rest intervals (it was maybe 20 seconds between my effort and my first quarter with Lucas), but I'm still breaking down towards the end of harder continuous efforts (the 5K on the track, the 8K and today). I still have 10 days until the next 5K, and hopefully I can put it all together with help from the coach by then.

Training: Today, 10 miles, w/3.75 mile exchange run (1 mile at 5:53, 1 mile at 5:02, 1 mile at 5:53, 3/4 mile at 3:47), followed by 4x400 (400 recovery) in 73, 75, 74, 75

Yesterday pm., 4 miles easy with Finn in the stroller, 7:30 pace


Eric said...

Did you feel my evil eye?

Sasha Pachev said...

5:53 is a beast of a recovery after running 5:00 pace if your 5 K PR pace is around 5:10. I think it would challenge a 15:00 5 K runner, if he had to do 4 intervals like that. Even a much slower, 7:00 pace would hurt for a recovery. This would be a great workout, though, if you cut it down to 0.75/0.75 and made the pace 5:10/6:10.

Mike said...

Sasha, if I'd done it right (and perhaps taken it a little easier yesterday) I had the option of the 3/4 mile at 6 flat, then 3/4 mile at 5 flat (and repeat), which is about ten seconds faster than you suggest. The coach pointed out to me that it was probably running 5:53 instead of 6 that did me in, which is a good point. 6 minute pace just felt so darned easy on the track with lighter shoes. Nice job by the way at the relay (Sasha's team took 2nd while my gang from the Running Shop took 3rd).

Eric, I was thinking about that last mile at 5 minute pace you put in last Wednesday during my workout today as inspiration for me to be able to do the same after my third mile. It almost worked.

Mark said...

ya gotta like a guy who has the guts to tackle the harder of the two w\o options,

goes to show MC where your head is

Lawrence said...

Wowsa, recovery at 6' pace! It looks to me like a pretty fine workout all things considered. You had the smarts to stop at 1200m and I think if you had been bang on 6:00 pace you may have made that last 400.........good work!

Bruce said...

Great work out Mike, and to end with those 400s and still feel like you can keep going! You sound in pretty good shape to me.