Killer workout idea from the Hungry Runner Girl and a week of 3-milers

Since three miles seems to be my safe limit before experiencing arch fatigue and the accompanying arch tightness and toe pain that limited my running last week, I’ve been limiting my runs this week to three miles, or a little over 25 minutes. I also wanted to get in 20 miles this week, which means I will be running 3 miles on the dot every day this week (barring any toe/calf pain, of course). Although a tad repetitive, this has been nice so far – three miles is the perfect length to get a quick run in before dark even after a long day, but doesn’t feel so short that I feel overly restricted by the length limit.

However, there are only so many three-mile routes from my house, so I have ended up looking for ways to add a little variety to my three-mile runs. Yesterday, that variety came in the form of lugging my burning quads and wheezing lungs around a soccer field while chanting “perfect form, perfect form…” in my head to avoid the temptation to let my exhaustion turn my stable stride into a wobbly-hipped, knee-flailing shuffle. How did I end up in such a sorry state without actually doing any speed work? I’m going to blame it on the HungryRunnerGirl and her brilliantly painful circuit track workout. Her version involved a bit more running than mine – I did a 2 mile warmup and then did circuit work about every 50 meters until I hit 3 miles total – and a bit more structure – I threw in pushups, dips, high-knee taps on an abandoned soccer ball, uneven pushups using the same sorry soccer ball, and a few sets of squat jumps. The effect was the same – tough ‘easy’ running segments spent recovering from oxygen debt and muscle fatigue, and a satisfying feeling of fatigue without risking actual speed work.

I’ll stick to easy running today, but will hopefully get another little circuit-run session in this week to keep things interesting…and to help me prep for the lung-and-leg burning trail races that I’ll hopefully be doing later this summer!

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Weekly workout – 4 x 1k (allll the pain)

I got out to the park to do a workout today and it was EXCELLENT. Painful and brutal and oh my *gosh* I am dead, but excellent nonetheless 😉

I had 3 x 1200 m on the schedule for yesterday, but ended up calling it off due to some foot tightness that threatened to blossom into full blown pain if I pushed too hard. I did the warm up and then called it good for the day. Today the foot felt much better (hurrah!) and I decided to give it a go. I did end up switching it up to 4 x 1000m since there’s a bit of a nasty hill right before the 1200 meter mark on the park loop that I wanted to use (didn’t want to start off down it every other rep). My goal pace was 3:55 – 4:00 per kilometer with a fairly short recovery (2 minutes). Last time I did this workout (3 weeks ago on a much flatter loop) I hit around 4:00 to 4:05 and just about died so I figured dropping 10 seconds per repeat would be a challenge.

I was actually expecting the workout to be pretty awful – I’d been popping Vitamin I (Ibuprofen :P) all day to hold a particularly nasty case of cramps to a level where I could still function and was worried I’d get a nice cramp + Ibuprofen-stomach combo mid-workout. I wasn’t feeling great mentally either but figured I’d better get the workout over with or I wouldn’t ever do it.

I was pleasantly surprised by how un-horrific it turned out to be. I went out fast, hitting the first repeat in 3:51 and then managed to hold on, finishing 2 – 4 in 3:49, 3:55, and 3:58. The last repeat was tough – my legs felt pretty dead and I just wanted it to be OVER. We used to do a similar workout in college (but with 6 x 1k, oof) and it felt pretty similar so the effort was about right. Great mental training for hanging tough in those painful mid to late stages of the 5k!photo

Also I had great idea to take a  *lovely* selfie in the creepy, prison-like park bathroom. That is what oxygen deprivation does to your decision making skills folks…excellent for a laugh though 😉

Hope all the other runners out there are rocking their workouts this week 😀

 

More workout fun!

Today was another speed-work day!  The tracks are all frozen over still so I got to play the distance guessing game on the roads.  I had intended to do two sets of 2×300 @ 5k pace and 2×400 @ mile pace, so I ended up just going by time and running sets of 2×1 minute at estimated 5k pace with 30 seconds recovery and 2×80 seconds at 1 mile pace with 2 minutes recovery.  I ran it on a little 500 meter looped drive near my apartment since there aren’t too many cars on that side street.  Unfortunately, there is a rather long hill on one side of the loop and every time I hit it I felt like I’d suddenly gained 10 pounds.  It was a major struggle to hold my form together through the end of each 80 second interval but I managed better than I had expected.  It may be a while before I can actually hold a whole mile at my “mile pace,” but today’s workout was a good start!   

Workout No. 2: Fartlek!

Got out in the sun today for my second workout since last Monday’s glorified strides.  I pulled a workout out of my college coach’s 800 m winter training and did a fartlek of 4×1 minute hard, 4×45 sec hard, 4×30 sec hard with 1 min easy pace recovery between repeats.  This second workout was a bit more intense than last week’s, though still short (8 total minutes of faster running interspersed with easy jogging).  It felt glorious to get out in the sunshine and get some fast running in!  Everything felt great – no toe twinges even after I’d cooled down. Yayyyy!

Also, fartleks are just awesome in general – no worrying about pace or hitting splits or having to witness exactly how out of shape one is 😉  They’re the perfect workout for getting in a solid effort and gaining a nice feeling of satisfaction without any stress over paces.  Not to mention the joy of escaping from the monotony of daily easy runs! 

Workout Monday!

ImageSo apparently everyone in my little workout group has a greater sense of self-preservation than I do.  It was 101 degrees out when the workout was supposed to start and I was the only one to actually show up and risk heat stroke ha ha.

I ended up doing a workout on my own anyways, since I new I’d never get back out the door if I went home and waited for the sun to go down.  A fartlek in the shade (with the ‘off’ portions strategically timed to coincide with breaks at the two park water fountains) served me well and I only feel *slightly* dehydrated.

Ok, so I totally chugged a whole bottle of gatorade when I got home…plus a smoothie…and a bottle of water :S

Interesting sights on the run included a girl running in a sweatshirt and sweatpants (how the heck are you not dead?!?), a little group of old-man runners with awe-inspiring matching white beards (I really hope I’ll be running still at that age!), and this sign:

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The workout: 3 x 800m (400m Recovery), 400m for turnover (distances via GPS watch), averaged 7:30 pace during the ‘on’ portions (I’m going to use the long grass, heat, and hills as my excuse ha ha)