So it might seem I’m abandoned all things running in the last few months (along with abandoning this blog)…I haven’t. Okay, December I definitely abandoned all things running (but I had the best intentions!). It’s true that after the Paris Marathon in April I pretty well quit running. I was doing more lifting and Les Mills classes at the gym, and would run maybe a couple times every fortnight or so. But I was burnt out and had a lot going on.
Then, on November 2 I was in a cold sweat. I had to officially cancel my NYC Marathon entry (which I obviously wasn’t running but had this weird mind battle with officially cancelling) to ensure that I would get my guaranteed entry in 2016 (guaranteed WITH paying the $350+ AGAIN). Once cancelled, it was hard to ignore the fact that my next marathon was pretty much exactly a year away. I needed something to bring me back to running, but I didn’t want to do the same old run schedule that marathon training is and becomes. I needed something to motivate me but not let me get bored, antsy, or burnt out. Thus, I decided to train for my fastest mile.
I looked at and considered a couple different plan: this one at Competitor, this one on Women’s Running (intermediate), and this one at Nike. And ended up choosing the Nike one….I mean, who doesn’t need a little Bugs Bunny inspiration? It started with an out of shape timed mile- just under an 8-minute mile. And from there I set the goal of a sub-7 minute mile (which would be epic for me…I understand people run marathons at like a 5min mile pace for 26 miles straight…I am not one of those people) and calculated ideal pace times for the 5K (8 minute mile) and 10K (9 minute mile which I know shouldn’t be that much slower but leave me alone). Then I set out to do my work. The plan has you doing speed workouts 2x a week and wants you to do a long run on the weekend, and any other runs you want under 5 miles.
I was pretty diligent with the two speed workouts for 5 weeks. But I wasn’t doing any other running. In my defence, those 2 speed workouts a week really crushed me. My whole body hurt (a lot more upper body than I expected) and I felt so fatigued all the time. We would do the workouts at the only (level) track in Aberdeen at the Sports Village. One day was so windy, rainy, and icy that we did the workout inside on a treadmill. Otherwise the workouts would be late at night or E would drive up immediately after work and I’d meet him (hard to plan eating around), we could maybe get one lane, sometimes not even, and it cost £3.70 each time, for each of us (E was my pacer as he was the only one with a running watch at the time…and I’m rubbish at pacing myself). There is one other track in Aberdeen at Hazlehead park, a 500m track that goes uphill in one direction (and a nice downhill in the other) but it often has a lot of people on it and because it is pavement, becomes icier more frequently.
I had big plans for my speed work in America. I put in every workout on my calendar. I planned to use the gym and a treadmill mostly, but a couple runs I preferred on the high school track. As it turns out, when I was home I never put on my running shoes once.
Well I am proud to say that I got back on the Find Your Fast plan and started from the beginning the first Monday I was back here in Scotland. This time around I’m doing pretty much all of my workouts on a treadmill (at 1% incline). It’s not ideal, I actually hate treadmills. But it’s a short workout and saves the trouble of getting to (and paying for) the track, especially when I feel I can’t do track workout without E…I know I’ll puss out. He tends to tell me I’m slower than I am so I push myself much harder…. Oh well, gotta work with what I got. I am happy to say I haven’t been feeling AS completely knackered after these workouts so that’s good in a way, but bad in a way. Don’t get me wrong; my body still hurts. And I am getting in another 1-2 runs on top of that- at least one distance run- building up to 10 miles as I have a 10 miler race on March 6. I am trying to push myself and on my last couple of sprints do them at a faster speed….I figure that’s got to good to push it then when I’m already fatigued right?
We did manage to do minute long hill repeats outside this week. Of course on one of the windiest days in Aberdeen, Storm Frank I think, and I am running uphill directly into the wind. I’m not happy to say I didn’t accomplish 7 minute mile pace up hill, into the wind for a full minute. But I got the 8 and 9 minute mile paces (repeat these 3x each). Oh well, working on progress.
So let’s see how this one goes. 1 full month of training down, 1 month to go. Doing speed work I’ve never done before. Can I get a sub-7 minute mile?