Do I HAVE to have a title on these posts? I hate coming up with them. Okay, it’s settled: no titles. Maybe just the date. The date will be the title. Glad I figured this out!
I started doing “speed work” a few months ago, and I usually do it Wednesdays. I put “speed work” in quotes because it’s not SUPER intensive, and also I still have this hang up that I’m slow and always will be (even though I’ve seen my pace increase this past summer).
But yes, Wednesdays are when I typically alternate running slow-ish and running faster-ish. For a while I was doing this on the local high school track. This was both good and bad: it’s my old high school, so it was kind of cool to just be there, knowing I was running around the same track as I did when I was ON Track (which I quit, by the way, I think halfway through my sophomore year? I can barely remember. I was really more into music at the time). I liked that the track is about a mile run from my house, so I got in a good warm up and cool down in between. I also liked seeing other runners there – I never spoke to anyone, but I enjoyed watching better runners – how fast they went, what they did – and I also enjoyed passing slower runners because I am competitive. I did NOT like the intense sun, as I would typically go around 7, 7:30am, and, like a normal track, there is no shade. I HATE running in the sun. I burn easily, and I fear I am getting the dreaded middle-aged woman freckled upper chest that only looks cool under a Metallica v-neck while holding a cigarette at a dive bar.
I read something recently that said doing speed work around a track isn’t great, as it increases the risk of injury to your IT band and it also doesn’t properly mimic the hills and turns of a normal road race. So I thought that this morning I’d try doing “speed work” on normal roads. I set mapmyrun to give me prompts every quarter mile, and did a short 3-mile course where I ran normally for the first mile, and then spent the next 8 quarter miles alternating between “normal” and “slightly faster.” I wouldn’t even call what I did going FAST. I just slightly increased my speed. Part of this is that I’m still pretty fresh off last weekend’s 10K, and think I should take it easy this week. Also the top of my right foot felt a little weird. I was also tired – I’ve been averaging 5-6 hours of sleep a night for a while now, and I don’t think that’s enough. So I felt a little sluggish to begin with.
I’d never set the app to prompt every quarter mile before – it was always set to every 5 minutes until recently when I switched it to every mile, preferring to know about distance over duration (which I could just infer from distance/pace) – and was hoping I’d get a breakdown of my quarter mile splits, but I didn’t. I only got the usual mile splits. So I don’t know how fast I went for each quarter mile, just that I averaged a 9:30 pace overall.
When I used to go around the track, I’d hold my phone open to the stopwatch and time each quarter mile. My “fast” 400s were anywhere from a 7:55 to an 8:15 pace. Not super fast, I feel. Considering I can run a 5K with an 8:34 (at least I did a couple of months ago) I feel like surely my quarter miles should be a lot faster than that. But I haven’t been doing speed work for very long. Maybe with some more training, I can get those paces down. I wish I knew what they were today. I know there are other apps that can probably track this for me, but I’ve been using mapmyrun for so long and ALL my records are on there and the idea of switching apps is exhausting. Maybe I’ll just hold my phone next time and do the stopwatch thing. But I HATE holding my phone while I run. Life is hard!!!
EDITED TO ADD: I just changed the name of this blog, as the initial name was just supposed to be temporary. I decided to name it after my favorite mantra that I repeat during races. When I need all the strength I can get, I like to imagine myself as this muscular android that cannot feel pain, and I say to myself “my body is a machine” over and over. It’s cheesy but it works, for the most part.