Torture Tuesday

Yes, that's right Torture Tuesday...  We all have deficiencies when it comes to training.  Whether it be an issue with getting in all your miles, consistency, running the right paces, fueling properly, or even overtraining.  For me, the deficiency is speedwork.  I am, I think, pretty good at laying out a schedule and following it and getting in all my miles.  Over my first two years of serious running (I've been running much longer, but didn't really pay attention to the details until training for my first half in 2009) my half marathon pace has dropped from an 11:50 to a 9:50 min/mile.  So I think somewhere in there, I convinced myself that pushing the endurance would be sufficient.  Also, I race a lot... averaging twice a month.  Most races, I tend to push myself to my limit, which, in my mind, is very similar to speedwork. 

At this point I'm starting to having visions of Sugar Plum Fairies (i.e. a 2 hr half marathon), and I realize that I cannot expect my improvements to continue as steeply as they did in the first 18 months.  This will take some work on my part.  I also realize that *I* am not the best person to assign myself speedwork.  I'm not as confident in my capabilities as an outsider might be.  I know this because, as a coach, I often assign speedwork, and of course they usually think I'm trying to kill them (I'm not, I promise, I just believe in them!!!).  So I talked to Adam of The Boring Runner, and he agreed to help me with my need... to assign me Torture Tuesday... otherwise known as speedwork day.  I sent him my training plan, and he gave it the ok... but basically he is going to assign my Tuesday workouts and stay on my case to get them done. 

So today was the first (of hopefully many) Torture Tuesdays.  You might recall that I am an 11:00 min/mile girl.  I love my 11s... long runs, short runs, any day runs... that's my happy pace (and frankly, it's right on what the McMillan Calculator thinks I *should* be running).  Adam assigned 6x800s @ 8:45 with 400m recoveries.  That is a ridiculously fast/hard pace for me, and I was certain I would die.

Warm-up - 1.5 miles at 12 min/mile - slow, easy, comfortable.

Interval 1 - I was already huffing and puffing like a crazy person, and I wondered how I was going to do this.

Interval 2 - I convinced myself that if I just got through one at a time, this workout would be over before I knew it (yeah, right).

Interval 3 - I was pretty sure I was going to start hallucinating, but know that I tend to get re-motivated at the halfway point, so I just kept my eye on being halfway done and finished out this interval.

Interval 4 - It wasn't easier, by any means, but when I started interval 4, I felt magic... my legs knew exactly what pace I was asking of them and they just did the job. 

Interval 5 - I was craving the interval 4 magic, but frankly I wanted to die.

Interval 6 - This is it, I knew I could do this (yeah right).  Surely I can eek out one last interval.  Counted down every. single. second. until it ended, but did it.

Cool down - About 0.5 mile into the cooldown, I got really massive stomach cramps.  I'm not an evening or night runner, so I knew my body would be "off", and it was pitching a royal fit.  I knew I was almost done and in cool down though, so I slowed it down even further for about 30 seconds, the awful feeling passed, and then I picked it back up to regular recovery pace and finished out.

I then got off the treadmill, guzzled a water, and passed out on my carpet in a pool of sweat.  And that, my friends, is week one of Torture Tuesday.

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