After the fun and games of Wednesday’s intervals (or not as the case was) Thursday’s tempo should have been a breeze, and it was. The plan called for 10 miles in total, the first 9 at 7 min miles or 5k pace + 15 seconds and a mile cool down. I managed to get to start point a little earlier than usual in an effort to minimize the amount of time I was running in the dusk/dark and by a little after 4pm I was on my way. The path I run is the beach path starting at Will Rogers and heading North for a half mile then south for four and half miles to the turnaround, South of Santa Monica Pier, and then basically a reverse on the way back, at this time of year it’s pretty quiet with a few runners, skaters and cyclists etc but it does allow you to pick up some speed, with the major obstacle being sand over the path luring you to slip and fall or forcing you into the path of oncomers. It gets a bit busier by the pier but as by that time its cooling down and getting dark you’ve plenty of room. After trading in Gel DS I am now running in Asics Banditos which are much more comfortable but a little big, I had to go up 1.5 sizes over my road shoes which are half a size up on my regular shoes and I am wondering if that was a half size too much.
The first five miles went by with a huff and puff and I reached my turnaround in 34:55. I had in mind a 70 minute round trip which would mean 9 miles at sub 7 minutes to make up for the cool down tenth mile, so unless I ran a solid negative split 70 minutes was not looking likely. I stopped to grab some water from a fountain and headed back. By mile 7 I was feeling it but only missed the 49 minute mark by one second. Mile 8 and Mile 9 were both over 7 minutes and mile 10 over 8 minutes. So I finished with a 1:11:47 for the round trip, faster than last weeks run but not quite where I wanted it to be. Here are the GTC digits:
A few people have asked how I come up with these targets for the intervals and tempo runs. They are based on those prescribed by the FIRST plan, in fact my whole training plan is based on that; 3 quality runs a week, 2 cross training sessions a week. I initially tweaked the first 8 weeks (base building) with alternating long runs and long bike rides, and then during the last 4 and next 2 weeks (speedwork etc) added in the Intervals and Tempo runs and an extra run the day after my long run. I took those designed for a marathon and cherry picked and tweaked them. Here is a scan of the book.
All in all I would say that the speedwork is hard, but the upside is it is rewarding, after only four weeks of it I could now go out and get a personal best for the 10k and half marathon, after last nights run I would have had 26 minutes to cover the remaining 3.1 miles. However I would caution that it is at pace that you open yourself up to more opportunities for injury, so it is important to build up to it, the beauty of that of course is that you get to see almost instant results week on week. It really reinforces the maxim that if you want to race fast you have to train fast!
Good luck to everyone racing this weekend.