Tracks Make Me [Feel] Fast

I haven’t set foot on a track since 2005.

Track workouts look pretty fabulous on the Garmin.
Track workouts look pretty fabulous on the Garmin.

Yesterday, I did my first track workout since Cross Country season 2005 and I was intimidated by the high school track team (to be fair, it was a massive track team!)  I started with an easy mile warm-up which consisted of dodging all the track kids for most of it.  I think they were doing quarters, but they weren’t doing them very quickly so I can’t be sure.  After a light stretch, I started my anticipated workout:

800m at 5k pace (7:20-7:30)
1600m at 10k pace (7:40-7:50)
3200 at half marathon goal pace (8:00-8:20)
-repeat after heart rate decreases to zone 1-

I figured my pace based on what I was anticipating and have run so far.  I haven’t ran a timed 5k, but my 8k was about 7:30 average.  I’d love to run a 22 minute 5k, but I’m not sure I’m there yet.  So I assumed 7:20-7:30 was perfect.  Everything followed after that.  I ran my first (and only) half marathon last September at 9:00/mile and I could not have gone any faster.  I’m aiming for 8:24/mile to hit 1:50 at my ultimate goal, but figured the way I’ve been running I’ll stretch it from 8:00-8:20 to cover in case I’m low-balling myself.

The problem with running on a track apparently is that I want to be fast.  I want to run it like I did in high school, training for the 4×800, 1500, and 3000.  The entire workout was way too fast.

First 800m were easily 6:20-6:30/mile average (I screwed up the lap button after my warm-up so I don’t have exact time).  Way too fast.  I tried to adjust after the first 800m.  My 1600m time was 7:23.  Way too fast.  My 3200m time was 7:46/mile average.  Way too fast.

I cooled down for about 4 minutes by walking, it only took about 2:30-3 minutes for my heart rate to lower into zone 1, then back at it but I decided to really aim to keep the paces I set for myself.

800m – 7:16 pace.  Still too fast, but better.  This was where I thought about cutting my workout short. I was a little tired, I didn’t know if I gave too much in my first set, and I was ultimately looking for a good excuse.  Somehow I decided I was only mentally tired (so many laps around a track!) and I could keep up my pace and finish the set.  And finish the set I did.  1600m – 7:36 pace.  Still too fast, but on track with the first 800m, clearly not too tired.  3200m – 7:55 pace. Too fast, but on pace with the entire set.

At the end of the workout, I did a light cool down and would have made it longer but it was a downpour outside.

Now I’m sitting here debating slower times with another set or have I just gotten to be a lot faster than I anticipated when I set my [ridiculous] goal of dropping 8 minutes?  I didn’t want to strive for 3 sets because that would have easily put me at a half marathon distance of intervals and I haven’t even run 12 miles as my long run yet.  It’s a good thing I didn’t go for 3 sets at the pace I set for myself anyways — I ended up oversleeping somehow by over an hour this morning!  Oddly enough, so did my boyfriend who worked out too, but doing his own thing.  How do two people sleep in the same room, set two alarms five minutes apart, and both oversleep by an hour?  Beats me.

Today was a light recovery run with a lot of stretching.  Tomorrow is a cross training day with 45 minutes of spinning, then I’m taking Friday off to prepare for Saturday morning’s 12 miler.  If it feels good, maybe I’ll go for the full 13.  As nervous as I was for my upcoming races, with each speed workout I finish I’m getting more excited.  I really think I’m going to pull a huge PR soon!


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Just a 20-something homegrown Buffalo sports loving, distance running, gin drinking kind of girl.

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