Thursday, 7 February 2013

Reflections on my speed work

I haven't done speed work for a couple of years and, to be honest, it shows. It showed in the Cool Night Classic last year where my 5 km was a whole minute slower than the previous year. It showed when I tried to keep up with Matt the other night.

It showed in the speed work session I just finished.

Here's what I learnt today:

  1. I have, quite simply, forgotten how to run fast. That sounds silly, but it's true, because I simply could not make my legs turn over faster or push harder than reaching 4 min 35 for a lap (around 1.06 km, so about 4:20 pace), yet…
  2. my legs felt strong throughout all five reps, as if I could run a lot further, and
  3. my heart rate was relatively low, with reps averaging 141-145 bpm and rests at 109 to 116 bpm (with 1 minute jogging and 2:25 walking recovery). My maximum heart rate was 157 bpm. For comparison, when I run up the Kokoda Track at Mt Coot-tha, I hit around 170.
  4. I was itching to go by the time my rest was up—literally. Yes, mosquitoes were biting me.
  5. It might be more appropriate for me to do shorter reps and rests while I'm re-learning how to run fast. I'm not sure on this one.
  6. It takes me longer than 8 minutes to warm up. This should have been obvious to me, given that my heart rate was just reaching 119 bpm at this point. Needless to say, my first rep was my slowest and the one that I took longest to recover from.
  7. Vibram Fivefingers Classics are great shoes for speed work, but they come with a risk—a few women jumped when I passed them, having not heard my silent feet or whispery breath.
  8. Speed sessions are fun because I get to run really fast but with nice rest breaks and I never get uncomfortably hot or cold for too long. So much more fun than tempo runs! And the neighbours give me really funny looks, which is also entertaining.
  9. My old model Suunto T3C has a far less annoying interval tone than my old Timex Ironman watch and was really effective to use. (It's my first speed work session since buying the watch.)
  10. Trails will always be more fun than speed work!