Friday, June 25, 2010

Back on (the) Track

This post is part of the Endurance Training Summer Series. To learn more or find other team members, see our Element Endurance Team introduction

Two months. That’s how long it’s been since my last track workout. Per El Diablo’s (my trainer) orders, I took a sixty day hiatus from my beloved quarter mile oval. But absence makes the heart grow fonder, and my affection for running in 400 meter circles was no exception. This week I returned to the track for one of my favorite workouts.

By no accident, I live within running distance of a great track. I can run right out my front door, do a good warm-up, and hit the track. It’s the perfect set-up. I love track workouts for their measurability and consistency. I can run a few intervals on the track and get a good idea about my fitness and practice my pacing. I come from a swimming background, so track workouts are the closest things to the pool workouts I grew up with. Plus, I just love racing the clock.

This workout was all about pacing. I have a tendency to run too fast in the beginning of a race, and that is not something you want to do when you have 26.2 miles in front of you, like I will at Ironman Louisville. My goal was to hit each interval exactly. Not too fast, not too slow.

The workout:

4x1600s with 30 seconds rest between each 1600

My goal time was my half-marathon pace, which is about 6:50 per mile. I knew I was very capable of running the pace; the challenging part would be hitting the times exactly.

From the first few steps, I knew I was going to have a great workout. My legs felt fresh and springy. My breathing was even and controlled. And I was completely focused on the red rubberized track surface in front of me.

It was a perfect evening. A light drizzle and distant storm meant I had the track all to myself. I ran the first mile in a near-perfect 6:49. I kept the next three within a few seconds of first. I felt strong and completely in control of the pace on all four miles.

As I did my short cool-down jog home I thought about how much I love being a part of such a cool sport. This weekend a bunch of my teammates and friends are competing in everything from Ironman Coeur d’Alene in Idaho, Buffalo Springs Half Ironman in Texas, and the local IronGirl sprint triathlon here in Atlanta. With all the different distances and races happening all over the globe, triathlon really is a sport that will work for anyone!

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