The last three or four reps is what makes the muscle grow. This area of pain divides the champion from someone else who is not a champion. That’s what most people lack, having the guts to go on and just say they’ll go through the pain no matter what happens. – Arnold Schwarzenegger
1 mile warm-up + (3 x 1 mile) + 1 mile cool-down = 5 miles
Tuesday marked my first day of training towards the upcoming 5K. In case you missed it, I’m following the training plan from an old Runner’s World, which you can read more about here. For my first training session, I went with the Week 1 Park workout which read:
Four repeats of about a six-minute loop at 10K to 15K race pace with a four-minute jog/rest for novice runners, or two repeats of an eight minute loop at about 10K to 15K race pace with a four-minute jog rest for advanced runners.
I racked my brain trying to think of a good loop close to the house, but I couldn’t come up with anything so I decided the easiest thing to do was one mile repeats. Rather than run a full mile straight out, I decided to start from a point, run half a mile and turn around. This way it was more like a loop and there would be an even distribution of hills. Other benefits were that I was able to leave my water and my pack at the start. I debated about running the repeats with my pack, but there didn’t seem any sense in it. No one does speed work with additional weight. Plus, it didn’t matter what I saw in those one mile stretches, there was no way I was stopping for a picture.
So I left the house and ran a one mile warm up (with my pack) then stopped to stretch and organize my stuff. We live in the country so I wasn’t concerned about leaving my stuff on the side of the dirt road. I never see any cars over there.
Here’s how the terrain looked for the one mile repeats:
This meant the last hundred yards or so was relatively flat, but the final push was on an uphill. This chart is not to scale, but I’d say it’s pretty close. The hill on the way out is not terribly steep, but long. I didn’t like that the 1/2 mile point was on a downhill, but it couldn’t be avoided and it didn’t prove to be that bad. The final hill is steep, but overall a mile is pretty short so it was doable.
I have no idea what my 10K or 15K pace is. I’ve never been able to figure out that sort of thing. I know I’ve read on how to calculate yours but I really have no recent races to go off of. So before I started, I was thinking I would try to run the first mile at 9 minute pace. The goal was to not go out too fast.
Mile 1 – At this point my legs felt fresh. Actually, they felt extra fresh because I was free of my pack and I felt light and airy. I was trying so hard to not run too fast. When I got to the turn around, I saw the time said 4:04 and I thought, oh no. Too fast. I finished out the first mile at 8:17. So much for going slow.
Mile 2 – A four-minute rest is kind of a long time and I did not take a second more than 4 minutes. I felt ready for the second mile. I remembered the advice from the article “the hardest in a set of progressively fast repeats is not the last one, but the next-to-last. It’s easier to push the last rep because there’s no reason to save.” I had never really thought about it, but ok. There was a car coming when I got to the turn around so I ran a little harder because I wanted to turn before he got to me. Somehow I was able to squeak in the second mile in 8:08. Not bad.
Mile 3 – I was worried I had given up more than I should have in the first two miles. The pressure was really on to have a negative repeat. I didn’t want to go out too fast, but I knew I needed to be faster overall. I was watching my GPS for the turnaround and felt like I slowed too much before it, but even so I almost fell turning around. The final uphill was tough. My body didn’t want to run faster, but I thought, How bad do you want it? Answer: Pretty bad. Well, then run harder. So I pushed it up the hill and all the way back to finish out the third mile in a blazing 7:35 minutes! Woohoo!
I gathered my stuff and walk/jogged back to the house. I thought I might take a picture on the way back, but I was kind of spent.
So, instead, this picture is from yesterday afternoon. We discovered this butterfly on our back porch. My husband said it must have damaged its wing coming out of the cocoon. I still thought it was beautiful. And our daughter was in awe that she could see one so close and study its wings. It could still fly, but not well and I don’t think it will have a long life. Even so, we enjoyed this one’s short visit to our deck.
Training day one was a great success. I’m not making any predictions or setting any goal times yet for the 5K, but who knows maybe it really will be my fastest. Stay tuned for more training days!