wednesday track workout

I’m not quite sure how to express how much I love Wednesday mornings in the summer.  It is my track workout day.  I am challenged beyond words both physically and mentally, yet I always leave there feeling cleansed, energized and completely blissed out.  I wake up before the sun and meet the most inspiring and dedicated runners and friends I know.  We run around in circles together – pushing ourselves and supporting one another as we gut it out and give it our very best.  Sharing the journey – all connected together – yet also so completely on our own.  Every time I run around that track I am determined to make it count.  To put the best of myself out there.  That doesn’t mean running myself into the ground and feeling spent when I’m done.  It means learning how to run fast and in control of my effort – so that I can run steady and consistent for each interval.  I have grown so much as a runner in the last year, and I really believe a big part of that is because of time I have spent running around in circles.

It was one year ago that I first ever tried running on the track.  My sister Jodi and I were training for MCM and we would wake one another up every Wednesday morning before 5am – excited and grateful to be in it together.  Those mornings, watching the sun rise and listening to the soft sound of our feet on the track’s surface, they are some of the most peaceful moments I have ever experienced as a runner.  This year, Jodi is recovering from the ACL surgery she had in the spring.  To say I have missed her is an understatement.  As fulfilling and wonderful as this training cycle has been so far, there is always an important element missing and it is sharing it with my sister.  Last night as I was getting ready for bed, I received a text from Jodi asking me to pick her up this morning on my way to the track.  She wanted to come and support us as we ran!!

Jodi REALLY misses running – it is a part of her that she has been forced to set aside so that she can heal properly. She said she is DREAMING about running as she sleeps – she longs for it with every piece of her being.  Her attitude is amazing to me – just because she can’t run right now doesn’t mean she isn’t just as passionate about the sport as ever.  She doesn’t want to hole herself up and disappear from the rest of us.  She is spending her time coaching and teaching and inspiring – and recovering.  Before too long she will be back on the trails and the track RUNNING.  For now, she is there to offer us whatever support she can.  I love her more than words can say and I am insanely proud of her.  I wish she wasn’t going through this, but I have no doubt she is going to be stronger for it.  And wow will be celebrate the day she begins running again!

Today’s workout was a BEAST.  I was intimidated by it when I saw it on paper, but told myself not to worry about it.  To tackle it one interval, one set at a time. 

4 SETS of the following (3 minutes of active recovery between each set):
1×800 HARD
1×400 easy run pace
1×400 HARD

We warmed up for a mile and a half and then it was GO time.  I am training at paces for a 3:20 marathon and my target times for the work were:

800s – 3:04-3:12
Hard 400s – 1:28-1:33

My actual times today were:
800s – 3:09, 3:04, 3:06, 3:07
Hard 400s: 1:29, 1:32, 1:34, 1:32

The fact that I was able to stay consistent shows me that the paces I’m aiming for are RIGHT for me.  Easy?  Oh my gosh, NO.  Killing me and defeating me? NO.  Outside what I am capable of?  NO!  I am ready for this goal.  I am stepping up to it.

I am staring it in the face and I am GOING to accomplish it.

It is not some pie-in-the-sky dream of mine.  It is founded on a firm belief that I CAN and I WILL do it.  The work I am doing and the results I am seeing support my conviction and I am not going to back down.  I’m just not.  I believe I can do it and I will do it.  I believe it with all of my heart.  I am fighting for it.

must learn to relax face! and shoulders. and lower my arms.

When we were done with the work we cooled down for another mile and half, getting a full 7 miles in this morning.  We decided Jodi looked too clean and smelled too good to be at the track.  So we gave her a giant, sweaty, stinky group hug to remind her how much she missed this part of summer running with the honey badgers!

now that’s love. doesn’t she look happy? and totally grossed out.

Wednesdays at the track always remind me of how LUCKY I am to be a runner.  When I am pushing myself like that — targeting a goal that is HARD but within my reach if I just give it all I’ve got — I feel so alive!  My heart is fuller than full.  I’m glad the work is done for today, but I know I’ll be so excited when next Wednesday rolls around.

Do you do track workouts as part of your marathon training plan?  Do you love them as much as I do?  What are your goals for your next big race?!

5 thoughts on “wednesday track workout

  1. Thanks for posting your track workouts and times. This is a good guide for me. It's funny because I am a former high school track sprinter. The 400 meter was my race-59 seconds off anchor leg and 60/61 seconds with 400 meter open (individual) Now that I am a middle distance runner, I realize that my former sprinting days can help with my trainings for 10ks and 1/2 marathons:) Love your posts!!

  2. You are doing an AMAZING job! I was at the track this morning too and it would be SO MUCH MORE FUN with other runners/friends. I wish we lived closer. 🙂 You are rocking your training and I know you are going to meet your goal. Hugs!

  3. Your paces look great! I love track workouts! And have still been going to run with my club every wednesday night throughout my pregnancy, including tonight at 30 weeks. I run half the workout at a reasonable pace for me. I feel like the track is where I gain confidence and really push myself.

  4. Thanks so much you guys! I love the track. It is one of my very favorite places to run. Sarah – that is so wonderful that you're still going there at 30 weeks pregnant. I remember going too when I was pregnant, and it was such a wonderful experience for me. Not about pushing the pace, but about honoring my body and just celebrating the fact that I was out there still connecting to the sport I am passionate about but in a totally different way.

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