Another hard track session

Apart from porridge in the morning, I think the healthiest thing I’ve eaten in a week has been the taco I had last night, and though I brushed my teeth before I went to bed, I woke up still tasting the taco, no longer a joyful Mexican snack but instead a doleful reminder of past glories. According to the scales I’d actually gained weight last night.

Today, though, I drank my required amount of water, walked around a lot and actually had salad for lunch, which felt like the start of a journey back to health. Weirdly, mid-morning I had my usual post-coffee gloom and fatigue, and I haven’t even had a coffee since Friday. I hoped tonight’s track session would be the cure for all of this.

Tonight it was 6×5 minutes, with a minute’s rest in between. This is the start of my second run through this four week cycle, so I was hoping to go very slightly quicker than I did last week. On the 5k I averaged somewhere around 1:39 pace, and I want to get to 1:36 in order to go under 20 minutes, so tonight I was aiming for 1:38s all the way round. Well, I was hoping for 1:36s, but that wasn’t going to happen.

During the warm up, I discussed pace with Anna, who was planning on putting in 1:37s, as she was still recovering after her marathon. She figured I should be able to keep to that pace, and an extra second quicker every lap seemed a good thing, so I tried to follow her on the first lap.

Which was too quick. I tried to take it easier, but the momentum from the first lap left me going too quick on the second, and the third.

1:35.54
1:36.42
1:34.83

That was less than five minutes, so I ran on a bit; for the first few repeats I was doing about 1300m, and then as I slowed, struggling to do 1200m in five minutes.

1:33.55
1:37.17
1:36.72

So the second five minutes wasn’t too shabby either, even if I was going much too quick on the first lap again.

1:36.27
1:40.15
1:38.55

Second lap, third time round I had a hell of a time. I think that was when somebody ran onto the track in front of me without looking, and I lost time avoiding them, rather than crashing straight into the back of them. I tried to avoid getting angry and concentrated on running. By now my legs were starting to feel weak, while ny heart and lungs just plodded ever onward.

1:37.92
1:41.05
1:42.45

What happened that time, I can’t explain. I suppose I was now fatigued enough that I could do one solid lap at my target pace, and then, as the others ran away from me, lost focus. One problem I have is that nobody else is quite evenly matched to me. Everyone else seems to be about the same pace as one other person, which helps for keeping you motivated. It’s hard to always run at the front, or be falling off the back of things. Which means I need to sleep more and get some more stamina in my legs, and stop haring off so fast at the start.

1:39.88
1:45.10
1:39.97

By now I’d had enough, and was entertaining dropping the last five minutes and stopping early. It was tempting, but I knew if I did that, I wouldn’t have a proper comparison to four weeks ago. So on I went.

For the last five minutes, I got to run in front to begin with. As usual, I stormed out of the start, then dropped off the pace:

1:41.23
1:47.60
1:42.86

I don’t know what went wrong with the middle lap. Well, probably a complete lack of concentration, now it was getting close to the end. So we ended with 7 laps slower than 1:40 pace, which isn’t too great. On the positive side, 6 laps were quicker than I was aiming for, which also contributed to me being slower than planned for those lower quality 7.

Of course, if you add up all the differences relative to my target time, I was 2.31 seconds slow per lap on average. It will be interesting to see if I can improve that by running early laps slower and not taking such a dive later on.

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