back to the track

Earlier this week I went to the track for the first time in LONG time.  I can’t even remember the last time I did a track workout, but I’m pretty sure it was in early April (possibly even late March) in preparation for Boston.  Months ago.  I was SO excited to return there.  The track is where HARD work is done.  I step up to my fears when I am there, and test my limits around and around and around as I go.

Being outside my comfort zone like that takes me to places inside myself that I didn’t know existed, and places that I forgot existed.  It teaches me to BELIEVE in myself.  It reminds me that I am strong – physically and mentally – and it helps me to let go of negative thoughts.  It empties me and fills me up all at the same time.

It is a hugely therapeutic endeavor for me.

I decided this week that I would begin my marathon training with a ladder style track workout, to get a little bit of everything.  2×1600, 2×800, 4×400.  I wanted to get a baseline for where I am at going into the training cycle, and this is one of my favorite workouts to do that with.  My goal for Richmond is a 3:10 marathon and this is a big huge scary thing for me, but the reason I am setting this goal is because I believe I can do it based on what I am already doing.  Gotta step up to it and do what I believe I can do!

McMillan tells me my target paces for this workout should be the following.  I have these and all my other target paces programmed into a note on my iPhone, so that I always have them with me.

1600 – 6:16-6:26
800 – 2:57 – 3:05
400 – 1:24 – 1:29

I went to the track this week with some of my very favorite running buddies.  We warmed up together (2 miles easy) and then it was time to do the WORK.  Supporting one another as we went, but all focused in on dialing into ourselves and getting done what we needed to get done.  I love this about the track – together, yet on our own.

I took one minute rest between each set – basically enough time to catch my breath, take a sip of water and enter my time into my phone so I can keep track of it (I still haven’t made the effort to figure out how to pre-program my Garmin for these stats (I hear it’s easy I’m just a techno-phobe!), so I am re-starting my watch every time!).  I am experimenting with rest time between intervals this cycle – trying to shorten it for certain workouts so I can keep my heart rate elevated a little and not recover completely between each one.  I read a great article from Runner’s World on this topic and found it helpful.

I was really happy with how I was feeling with each interval, and with where my times came in.

2×1600 – 6:14, 6:11
2×800 – 2:54, 2:52
4×400 – 1:21, 1:22, 1:23, 1:20

My times were consistent, and were all just under my goal range for each interval.  And I finished strong.  I have got to believe I am capable of doing what I am setting out to do!  My body is telling me this is the right place to be.  My heart is telling me to trust that going after this is the right thing too.

That even if I “fail” at achieving a 3:10, so much will be gained through trying.

When we were done with our work, my friends and I cooled down for a mile together and then packed up to head home.  Each of us with a happy heart.  Ready to greet the day.  Ready to take on the training cycle we just began!

5 thoughts on “back to the track

  1. I love track workouts for the same reason! I think they are one of the best ways to push yourself far out of your comfort zone and they are huge confidence builders as well.

    How much do you rely on McMillan? I find that with race times it's pretty accurate (10M to half marathon pace) but I run a lot faster on the track than I should. I want to use the calculator but I'm not sure how accurate it is

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