I woke up this morning to much cooler temps - hallelujah! - and I thought to myself that it seemed like a good day for speedwork. Well, it is Thursday after all, and Thursday = speedwork, or at least it used to. On my marathon and half marathon training plans (which accounted for almost all of my training in the last year), Thursday's workout was either speedwork or a tempo run. My current triathlon plan doesn't include any effort-based running, because the run portion of the race is only three miles long and I really felt like I needed to concentrate on my biking and swimming skills (or lack thereof). This means I haven't done any speedwork of any kind for about three months - yikes!
I pre-program my speeds and distances into my Garmin so I can do speedwork on my regular running routes. I'm not a big fan of running around a track. Today's workout was 5 miles total distance with a 1.5 mile warm-up, 2 x 1 mile repeats @ 7:40 pace with .5 mile recovery, and 1 mile cool-down. When I set the repeats, I really debated if 7:40 was too aggressive, but thought I would give it a go anyway.
As I set off from my house, I turned directly into a headwind. Not much, maybe 8 mph, but enough that I felt like it was work, and wouldn't you know it, here came my old arch-nemesis, Creeping Doubt. I hear Creeping Doubt in my head somewhat frequently on my runs. Some days he's just a shadow flitting through quickly, and other days he'll stick around long enough to make a snarky comment or two. Well, today he brought his luggage and moved in with his cousins Nagging Worry and Mom Guilt. Ugh!
I struggled through the 1.5 mile warm-up, listening to his chatter: You'll never be able to run that fast. You've just been lucky before. You'll always be slow. You'll never make Boston because you're just not good enough. He's a mean little sucker, and he knows exactly what to say to make me feel bad.
But then something awesome happened: my Garmin beeped, telling me it's time to hit my first repeat. Like Pavlovian dogs, my legs started to FLY and we left Creeping Doubt in the dust! Oh, sure, I had to walk a little on the recovery to catch my breath, but then Garmin beeped again and there was nothing to do but run.
So, here's what I really love about speedwork: hitting your goal time makes you feel like you've accomplished something amazing. It is real, quantifiable proof that you can run even faster than you think (even if it's only for a short distance). Speedwork makes you feel like this:
Final stats: 1.5 mile warm-up @ 8:03, 1 mile @ 7:10 (!!!!!), .5 mile recovery @ 8:54, 1 mile @ 7:16 (again with the !!!!!), 1 mile cool-down @ 8:14, 5 miles total @ 7:50 average pace.
What's your relationship with speedwork? Love it, Hate it, or "It's Complicated"??