I went back to track this morning for the first time since....July? At least? But the last time I was consistently doing track workouts was March, so it's been a long time. I wasn't sure whether or not I would want to talk about this in detail but now that I've been through it and seen the carnage, I think that it's important to only so that in a few weeks/months I can feel a bit better about the progress that I hope to make (and quickly!!).
I've spent the past few months rebuilding my running base, but my "easy" pace has gotten slower and slower. I've done almost no speed work at all, and while I have come to a bit of an understanding with how HR training works and that it is a process, I also think that my zones weren't set up properly 2 months ago when I started down this road. Because of that, I think I've been doing all of my interval work far more slowly than I should have been - 3x8 minute Z4a intervals should not be a 9:40 pace, as far as I'm concerned - and while I don't think this did any lasting damage, and possibly even helped me rebuild a stronger base, I definitely have lost all the speedy pep in my running step.
Since this was my first workout back, I wanted to avoid pissing off my body as much as possible and talked to George before the workout about how to handle it. The workout was 1x1600, 1x1200, 1x800, 1-3x400. He suggested skipping the mile and just starting on the 1200, and to dial it back down to about 10K race pace. I don't know exactly what that is for me right now, but I guessed it would be somewhere in the 8:20-8:35 range.
I was surprised how good it felt to blow out of the gate for the 1200 and finally run FAST again. I was also surprised how quickly my heart tried to explode out of my chest and I wanted to stop. It was dark at the track and I didn't have my screens set up properly for intervals, but I figured it's better to just go off effort anyway, since I knew I was going to be annoyed no matter what. The 1200 felt a tiny bit on the easy side. The 800 felt good although I was horrified at the time when I stopped, and the 400s felt like I was finally starting to figure out how to push again. I think that part of what I have to relearn here is not exactly how to pace myself, but how to go into that place where it hurts just a little because it's hard. Spending 3 months running very easy makes it tough to remember exactly how and when to push and pull back. So, here's the carnage (this makes me cringe, thank you). (Also, general Garmin PSA: the pace is horseshit because of the way GPS works but I lap the interval - i.e. pay attention to the number on the left, ignore the one on the right).
Oof. I don't have an exact replica of this workout from last spring, but it looks like we did a similar step-down (1x1600, 1x1200, 1x800, 1x400) the first time I went to the track in my training cycle for the National Half.
Yeah. Like I said. Carnage. Right now I'm running about 10 seconds/400 slower off where I started last season. Granted, I was taking it slightly easy this morning, but my effort on the 400s felt pretty hard. The good news is that everything feels pretty okay after this workout. My right adductor was tight after the last 400 (probably because my form went all to hell on those) and my right hip flexor is a bit tight, but in general things feel much better than I would expect. So I've got some work to do here, but I'm happy and excited to be jumping right in.