Friday, March 12, 2010

Back on my feet

I must admit, the last month and a half of my workouts have not been terribly exciting. I am back on the treadmill, and due to the most recent weather shift in NYC, I'm also back in the park! (I give much credit to my running buddy Lauren for getting me out there!)

I have been experimenting with a few interval workouts on the treadmill. I was looking for something with high intensity that would get my heartrate up but not scare me away from running again. The first model I used was the "5, 4, 3, 2, 1" workout. This is a 30 minute interval run where you begin at a moderate speed for 5 minutes and increase the speed by .5mph for 4 minutes, increase by .5 for 3 minutes, etc. For example:

6MPH 5 min
6.5MPH 4 min
7MPH 3 min
7.5 MPH 2 min
8 MPH 1 min

This was a great way to ease my body back into high speeds again. And it DID make me go faster. On days that I wouldn't have much time on the treadmill, I would turn it into a 4, 3, 2, 1 workout. Eventually, I would forgo the 5 altogether and do 3 sets of 4, 3, 2, 1. I was also able to increase the inital speeds and inclines once I became more comfortable.

Unfortunately, I had done just that. Become TOO comfortable with these workouts. Coach Ramon used to tell us that "pain is weakness leaving the body." You need to feel that pain in your training in order to see results. So I went searching for another workout.

I found a workout on the Crossfit website last week that I decided to experiment with.

8 rounds of:
Run 400 meters
Rest 90 seconds

Post total time to comments not including 8th rest.

I was a little skeptical about having such long periods of rest (90 seconds). Isn't resting for the weak? I don't need a break that often! And it's true, I didn't need breaks that long. BUT the 90 seconds of of rest (My rest was a 3.0 MPH pace) every .25 miles allowed my heart rate to slow down enough so my next interval really packed a punch. Extreme changes in heartrate and intensity will warrent the most extreme results, which is why someone doing fast intervals will usually be in better shape than a strictly endurance athlete.

Also, the rest periods allowed me to get to some pretty fast speeds: 10 MPH and faster!

I think these new interval workouts really impacted the success of my race on Sunday. THis Sunday morning, March 7th, I ran the Coogans 5K. This is one of my favorite races, A) because it is only a 5K (a short distance to race) and B) because the race takes place mere steps outside my apartment. Despite all that, I would have been very ready to forgo the race had it not been for my friend, Lauren, who's race number I'd promised to pick up. I had spent the previous night dancing, drinking, AND carb-loading with a slice of pizza at 4AM. By race time, I was running on 2 1/2 hours of sleep with vodka running through my veins.

All these factors led to one of the most successful and enjoyable races of my running career. I don't know if it was because there was zero pressure for me to succeed, or if I had discovered the magic race combination of Vodka + pizza - sleep; but regardless, I am not going to overthink it. For the first time in about a year, I had a truly great run that will hopefully boost my confidence for future runs.

Also, I REALLY enjoyed racing to my "In the Heights" soundtrack. Very appropriate for the neighborhood :)

In other news...

Believe it or not, it is almost time for fall marathon season! I went to a team in training meeting on MOnday night, and now am full force into Team in Training marathon mode. I am very excited to start training again (for the NYC marathon!) in May.

I hope you all enjoy the rest of the beautiful weather!