Real Speed Work.

Last week, my super-speedy teammate Melissa emailed to see if anyone had planned on a mid-week workout. Even though I’m still at a base-building point and not very confident about my fitness, I thought this might be a good opportunity to get in some low-pressure faster running.

I don’t get the chance to run with Melissa that often, mostly because I’m primarily a marathoner and she’s a track/xc runner. I know they’re not exclusive – but what I mean to say is that her legs go at speeds my legs only dream of. So when she told me that she was planning on either: 6×1000 at an undisclosed pace OR 5x1mile starting at 5:50 pace and working down, I knew some modifications would need to be made on my end. I mentioned that I thought I could handle ~half the distance at those paces, so that was my general plan and we’d work things out once we were at the track.

Lucky for Melissa and me, when I emailed my run-pool commuting friend, Kirstin, to let her know my destination for the evening’s commute toward home, she decided to join as well. We left work as planned at 5:00 and when we got to the track at 5:45pm after a fairly long warm up, Melissa had decided on the 1000s. Since Kirstin is at about the same point I am in her training, we came up with a pretty good plan for all of us:

Melissa would do the first 200 on her own*. Once she got to where we were waiting on the backside of the track, I would jump in and join her for the following lap (through 600 meters). I would then hand the metaphorical baton to Kirstin, who would join for the final 400 with Melissa. Not only would this allow us to run a short enough distance to keep pace with Melissa, but it also gave us significantly longer recovery between reps.

[*It’s often tough to gauge pace when you’re starting to build fitness again. Having Melissa start alone allowed her to establish the pace so that neither Kirstin nor I ruined things by nervously blasting off the line.]

Overall, I really enjoyed this workout (much more so than if I had purely thought of it as 400 repeats). Not only did we employ some excellent teamwork, I think both Kirstin and I left pretty proud** of how speedy we were able to get our little legs to go.

**and equally humbled by Melissa’s efforts.


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