Thursday, December 17, 2009

2010 List O' Fun: Part 3!

So, in my last few posts, I've discussed how I want to run a half-marathon, run single-track trails, and how I don't want to belly flop into the Hudson River on national TV. Now to continue my List O' Fun things to do in 2010:

#1: Run a half-marathon
#2: Run on single-track bike trails
#3: Do some speedwork

This sounds like a pretty simple, every-day, not-exciting thing. I've never really done it quite right, though, and I think that it could change a lot of things for me. I also have a special place in my heart for a 400m track. And doing some workouts there - done correctly to show some results - would be pretty special.

I spent a lot of time alone at the track during my senior year of high school trying to train myself to be good enough for the track team, and I feel like that was a defining time for me. Before that, I had been caught up in the general impression that I just wasn't the athletic type, and my parents never encouraged me to join any kind of organized sport, especially in high school, because it would be a big hassle for them to drive me home from practice. So deciding to join the track team was actually was one of my first steps toward independence.

Thanks to knee issues, my track career turned out to be one single JV race, but the experience of training and then joining the team was powerful. This post shows one of my memories of that experience. It's just a snapshot of an evening alone at the track, but it's one of the best examples I can think of as to "why I run".

So that brings me to doing some speedwork on the track this coming year. Once I started running in 5Ks, I tried to revisit the track to do speedwork -- without having a base. My experience of track in high school was as a sprinter, so I never had to do very long distances. The miles warming up and cooling down were the farthest distances I ran in those days. So, when I started running in 5Ks, it didn't seem odd to do speed workouts when I was only running 10 miles per week, although I can say that those workouts never had much of an impact.

I got pretty frustrated in the spring of 2009, when I was doing pace and speed intervals once every week and could not, for the life of me, break my 5K PR. I couldn't imagine why I wasn't getting faster. Then I started running longer distances and running just for the fun of it, and my speed increased dramatically. Like by a minute and 20 seconds in the 5K! Oh yeah, that "base" thing people talk about. That's what they mean...

So one thing that I would love to do in 2010 is to go back to the track after I've built up a base and do some real interval workouts. If having the base alone could decrease my times so much, I'd love to see what incorporating speedwork will do.

As much as I love the freedom and natural environment of the trail, there is still a competitor in me that loves the thrill of racing on a track, and I definitely want that as part of my running experience in the next year.

No comments: