And Now For Something Completely Different

I have gotten really sick of slogging up and down the ski hill at Chester Bowl, and decided my speed work for this week would be… actual speed work. The last time I did something like that was 2 months ago, on the treadmill.

Naturally a good way to start doing speed work again is to do something really hard. Like 8 x 0.5 mile with 0.1 mi recovery. I probably need a coach or I’m going to hurt myself at some point. It was a bit reckless to do something very different from the slow trail runs I’ve been doing.

I drove to the Munger Trail in west Duluth for this workout, which is my new favorite spot for flat (well, flat-ish) running. There are of course slight uphills and downhills, and some gravel spots, but it’s no Superior Hiking Trail.

My warm-up was about 1.2 miles (it was going to be 1 mile, but I’d have had to start my first interval right before a street crossing), and I could tell that my legs weren’t interested in running fast. I warmed up slowly, in fact I walked the first tenth of a mile or so, but I couldn’t ramp up. My legs were heavy and slow, like stumps. I dove in anyway.

Rep 1: 9:38 pace, 170 bpm
Uhhh. No. The first 4 reps were at a slight incline, but I felt like I was wearing weights on my legs. They would not turn over.

Rep 2: 9:20 pace, 150 bpm
I had a HRM issue, not a miraculous improvement in aerobic function.

Rep 3: 9:06 pace, 110 bpm
Obviously another HRM problem.

Rep 4: 9:16 pace, 177 bpm
Rep 5: 8:50 pace, 169 bpm
I turned around after rep 4, so this one was slightly downhill

Rep 6: 9:01 pace, 174 bpm
Rep 7: 8:53 pace, 172 bpm
Rep 8: 8:59 pace, 174 bpm

This was tough. My recovery between each interval was about 2 minutes, which was about how long it took to get my heart rate under my aerobic threshold of 142 bpm. My legs didn’t feel recovered in that time, but my cardiovascular system kind of did. Not entirely, but enough that I didn’t extend a single rest period. I did find that I needed to really slow down, since I was basing my recovery on distance rather than time (just to make it easy to start/stop intervals based on my watch display).

I looked at my watch A LOT during this workout. I tried not to look at the distance, only the pace, to make sure I was really keeping up the speed I wanted to (low 9:00s or high 8:00s) and wasn’t going TOO fast. During my 6th interval, for a few seconds, I was in the 11:00s! And during my 7th interval, at the beginning, I hit 6:53 for an instant. All over the map.

My hamstrings felt pretty taut after I completed the intervals, and I made sure to walk my 0.1 mi recovery before doing my slow cooldown run. I ended up walking again even after starting my cooldown, because I felt like I was on the verge of a muscle cramp. I was glad for the long cooldown, because by the end I felt almost normal. Today I have some soreness on the backs of my legs, but nothing major.

Now I want to race a 5K and see how that goes. Next week I may do some mile repeats (4×1 maybe) with one really going all out to see if I can set a Strava PR. Overall, the paces were faster than I expected and maybe faster than I should have run them, given that my current PB in a 5K is a 9:37 pace. However, my HR in that race was 183 bpm, whereas my average HR (for the intervals that didn’t have a glaring error) was around 10 bpm lower. I was exceeding 5K pace, but staying below 5K heart rate. Since my PRs are all still “soft” I think going off HR is going to be more informative.

I’ll see how Superior goes and then snoop around for a 5K in the area a few weeks later, to see if I can get that sub-30.

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