speedwork and a new half {running}

we are in the midst of some kind of bewitching weather event – yesterday and today, the skies have been clear, the air light and not humid, and the temperatures hovered around 70 for most of the morning, before lazily inching up to the mid-80s for an afternoon high.

last night, at an outdoor movie screening, i wore a cardigan because it was kind of chilly.

witchcraft. also, for those of us from this coast, unnerving, because it means that we’ll probably melt in a week or so when the heat comes back with a maniacal vengeance.

anyhow. this morning i was able to sleep in and go for a run around 8:30 – and it was 65 freaking degrees out. today’s run was all about speedwork – playing with my pace (going from my goal pace to a faster pace and then back again). i loved it. it felt like i was playing, and the 40 minutes flew by. i ran at my normal (roughly 11 minute) pace for ten minutes, then switched to intervals (also called fartleks, which is Swedish for ‘speed play’ or ‘hahaha let’s make you say fart‘) for the next 20 minutes. those intervals went like this: one minute pouring it on (conservatively, i think i was at about a 9:30 pace), then two minutes recovering at my normal pace. in my training program, we talk about zones of running – zone 2 is conversational (in that, technically, you could converse with someone while running, though i hate talking while i work out), zone 3 is “broken speech”, where you could speak but your breath breaks it up more (this is your “marathon pace” – faster). so, my one minute speed was zone 3 (i literally muttered “pour it on” whenever i went to that zone), and my two minute speed was zone 2. after 20 minutes of this, i slowed back down to my zone 2 pace and recovered for ten minutes.

the idea behind speedwork is that it helps your body learn how to maintain a harder effort. intervals are also an excellent workout – they burn a bit more energy, and i find that i get a much better idea of what my pace feels like by comparing it to a faster pace. i was really proud of myself for running this entire thing without walking (pauses for street crossing are just…bonuses/water breaks), and i hit a PR for running 5k, plus my overall pace was about 10:35 (i ran 3.8 miles total).

AND then i got home and dropped $76 on registration for the Fall Classic Half Marathon back in Charlottesville. october 13! that gives me extra time, it will definitely be cooler weather, and i’m excited to bully all of my c’ville friends into cheering me on. plus, bodo’s for carb-loading = the best idea. i’m looking forward to this half a lot more than the one i originally signed up for (perhaps due in part to there being no “you have to maintain a certain pace” rule…), and i think that mental bit will make a world of difference.