Well I’m not sure that I can call it a track comeback quite yet; but, only time will tell if I stick to the new speed routine. Tuesday morning, I decided to make an appearance at the Syracuse University track for my first speed workout session in years. It has been a long time since these legs felt any type of turnover while running on a 400 meter rubber oval. It’s probably a little late in the season to get started – so I say better late than never, right? Let’s just say I wasn’t singing any upbeat songs like “Tuesday Morning” by the Pogues in my head as I was pulling into the parking lot at Manley Field House.
Years ago, I asked a friend (who is a really fast runner) how I could get faster and improve my race times. His simple two-word reply to me was RUN FAST. Little did I know that my times were probably considered fast in comparison with the other runners in the races back then. I guess it is my competitive drive that makes me want to get faster again. Hell, I would take those finishing times from back then in a heartbeat.
It’s easy for me to blame my lack of speed and marathon shuffle on my age, 30+ years of running or on how many marathons that I have trained for and completed. The result from all that endurance running is now my stride resembles Fred Flinstone’s flat feet powering up the Flintmobile in Bedrock.
Love: Speed workouts can make you faster in races and I don’t know of any runner who does not want to experience negative splits.
Hate: Speed workouts hurt like hell!
Love: It only takes 30 minutes or less to get a good workout in.
Hate: It takes weeks of consistent 30 minute speed work sessions to condition your body for faster race results.
Love: I love that speed workouts do amazing things for your body like tightening up your core and lifting the muscles in your buttocks.
Hate: It’s easy to suffer from a nasty hamstring injury by over striding and running fast.
Love: It’s a nice break from running hills because I can’t escape them in the neighborhood I train in. You also know exactly how far you are running because the track is accurately measured and you don’t have to deal with the tangent factor.
Hate: All of those arcs and turns create havoc on the knees and iliotibial band. Oh, I almost forgot, you have to remember to count the number of laps you run for accurate mileage.
Love: The chit-chat with friends about how much I hate the track during the recovery laps.
Hate: There is no chit-chat or talking during the interval if you are running these damn sprints correctly.
Love: Speed workouts add a little spice into the running routine.
Hate : Speed kills as mentioned up above.
Love: Anaerobic running conditions your body to process fuel more efficiently so that eventually it feels easier when you are running longer distances in a race.
Hate: It’s not easy keeping those legs moving when they start stiffening up half way through the interval due to oxygen deprivation.
Love: There’s no better place to work on your running form than the track. The track is also a the great place to have a friend videotape your running so that you can later analyze the areas you need to work on.
Hate: It feels unnatural and uncomfortable to change something that you have been doing for years.
Even though there are many things I dread about interval training, I know that the only way I will see my times improve is to RUN FAST!
Enough said about that. Would love to hear about your thoughts on running fast at the track. Love or Hate -you are the only one that has to like your times.