Monday, March 19, 2007

Track Breakthrough

Last Thursday's track workout was absolutely, uneqivocally horrible, and my best track workout to date.

The stats:
15 min w/u
7 x 2min HARD on 4min recovery
3 min easy
6 x 1min HARD on 1min recovery
10 min cool down

Max HR: 198
Ave HR: 157

The two minute pieces were supposed to be as hard as we could go at a sustained pace for 2min (i.e. not 30 seconds of killer sprint and 1.5min of limping and groaning), with the first two a little less than all out. As a benchmark I watched my time for completing one lap of the track - I knew I should be aiming for a sub-1:50 lap of the track (400m). The first two pieces I was under that but after that I managed to be at or below 1:40, which didn't really sink in until I hit 1:37 on #7. That's my best time on the track this year and getting close to my top times from last summer.

After a brief cool down we then did the one minute pieces. I hadn't read the workout in advance so I was completely done at this point and was not happy to hear about this. I didn't think I had anything left in the tank but managed to blast out six good efforts, each time managing to go further than 200m.

There were two things that really thrilled me about this workout.

First off, I'm starting to see a payoff for the work I've been putting in - in my general level of fitness and my speed. I know I need to be patient (peaking early is bad!) but it is really nice to see these sort of appreciable gains. Giving everything I had on the first part of the workout and then finding energy to do a great job on the 1min pieces was pretty darned cool.

Secondly, and far more importantly, I'm starting to get the mental game. In the fourth 2min piece I was going all out and thought there was no way I could keep up that effort for three more pieces. I surprised myself by not only surviving three more but doing them at as fast a pace or faster, realizing that if I grit my teeth and dig deep I can go further and faster than I expect. Instead of thinking "I hate this, I want to quit" I was thinking "I hate this, I want to go harder" or "I hate this, I need to go further." A big difference for me.

Like I said at the start, it was a horrible, painful workout and I hated almost every part of it but I made fantastic gains and had a major breakthrough so I'd call it my best workout to date.

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