Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Speed Session Optimism

With one successful post-marathon run under my belt, I was quite looking forward to speed session this week.

I'd told myself and Coach Chris that I wasn't going to push myself too hard. If there's a time that you're allowed to slacken off a little it's in the couple of weeks after a marathon. My training buddy Elio reckons that there's a statute of limitations on using that as an excuse. So it's my mission to find out just how long that time frame is - how long can I push it until Coach Chris puts a bomb under me.

Even though I'd told myself that I was going to take it easy, it's not that simple to do. Somehow I get carried away with the adrenalin of the group and push a little harder than I intend.

The set was 1k rep, (100m walk recovery) then 500m (100m), 500m (100m) and repeat until time's up.

Coach Chris said go and we all headed out. My legs were feeling pretty good so I just let myself be swept along. We reached the turn around and Barry (Chris's assistant coach) gave us an interim time - 2:14. Hmm, maybe a little fast but I was still feeling okay so I went with it. I stopped my watch at 4:28. My fastest 1k split all year. Yay!

Or maybe not.

The aim of speed session is yes, to run fast. But it's also to run at a pace that you can sustain for the entire session. Running your fastest 1k split of the year is a momentarily heady rush but it's also a dangerous thing. You tell yourself that you can do it. That it's just an issue of mind over matter. But unfortunately for me there's a disconnect between my mind's ability to dream big and the physical ability of my heart, lungs and muscles.

In short, the session that started out brilliantly quickly deteriorated. The first two 500m reps were fine. The next 1k rep was 12s slower than the first and had me contemplating faking an injury. On one of the subsequent 500m reps I was struggling to keep down my banana. The third 1k rep saw me losing all will to live but I still went on to finish that set. Then I pulled the plug.

Maybe I could have done another 1k rep. But it would have been ugly and probably pointless.

I learnt a couple of things from the session. Obviously two weeks isn't quite long enough for marathon recovery despite my legs feeling good. And pacing is absolutely fundamental if I'm going to have a successful speed session.

After seven years of doing these sessions you'd think I'd know better by now. But it just goes to show that I'm an optimist at heart.

And just a little post script - Iven's gone back to work today. Just for a half day but a half day's better than nothing. I can't tell you how my heart sang when I saw the empty couch this morning. How delicious the coffee was and how I enjoyed doing the crossword. Alone! It's just like my spirit's getting the long-overdue recharge that it needed to be a nicer, kinder and more civil human.

I'm keeping my fingers crossed that he survives his few hours of work without any repercussions so the process can be repeated tomorrow.


  1. wow, good for you for getting out there after running the full just a few weeks ago! i think i was a sloth and barely ran for almost a month, lol.

    i love my time with hubs but not gonna lie...every sunday he's out of the house and i kinda like having the house to myself!

  2. Isn't it a day for every mile raced? Who am I kidding? I'd have done the same thing. Some things one simply cannot control. I hope Iven's day at work went well.

  3. Speed work is always hard - and that workout sounds brutal.
    But still a great day - a run and some time to yourself - life is good!!!

  4. It's hard to rest after a marathon and that is why I have people running within the week, but they are only aloud to do half the session! So it would ahve been 500m followed by 2 x 250m... Now the idea is you set out for a 1000m like the rest of the team, and then stop at 500m before you start to feel the legs... (not running any faster than you would have for a 1000m)

    That way your legs are turning over at the right pace and you aren't feeling the 42km in the legs...

    Either that or I stand on the side with a beer in the hand and shout times!!! both work!!!

  5. I think running in a group makes you push too hard much more than running alone.

  6. Next to last paragraph......perfect. And there's nothing wrong with being an optimist!

  7. I'm not one to say anything about speed sessions but I think you did great so soon after the marathon.

  8. Maybe you should have stopped are that first K and celebrated your fastest 1K of this year. There will be plenty of speed sessions in your next marathon training program. So I would have taken the victory and celebrate with one of your delicious cupcakes :)

    But that's the difference between you and me: you are hardcore and I am doing something and call that running :)

  9. Losing your will to live and contemplating faking an injury all in one speed session...lol this cracked me up. It's funny how we always "know" what we should do, and sometimes do something totally different in the end anyway, and it usually doesn't pan out. Take it easy..your body is still recovering. Glad Iven is back to work..good news :)

  10. So what was the book that was so good you had to buy it????

  11. I always go to fast at the start of speed sessions. Always.

    Yay that he's going back to work. Hopefully the boys will be so busy that they won't be around...

  12. That's my motto: Start fast, then die. For every run and every race. :)

    Glad you're enjoying some sanity time alone, finally. I FULLYunderstand!!

  13. Great job on the run, and glad to hear Iven's back at it. I think you and I share similar running spirits Char. I can't remember how many times that I said "just take it easy today", and then when I was done the darn thing turned into a pretty good speed or tempo session. It's like I have no self control when my legs actually start moving in a back and forth running motion. Glad I was a positive run for you!

  14. I have forgotten my last speed session and my last run in group.
    Great job Char and good luck to Iven.

  15. As you know the times mean nothing to me, but I'm glad you're enjoying your training! (And that Iven's back at work... Soon all will be back to normal!)

  16. Crazy how the marathon can bleed the distance and speed from your legs, even when you feel recovered "on the surface", isn't it? Well, enjoy your marathon excuse for another week or two. You'll be back to speed sessions soon enough - for now, enjoy the break! :)


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