It's official: Speed Training workouts are my absolute favorite. Why?
I enjoy that feeling of sheer awesomeness when I'm sprinting my little brains out at what feels to me like "lightening speeds." And the speed workouts I've been doing are all timed, so I know exactly how long I have to hold out the pace. This helps me focus through the pain, the doubts, and the feeling of "oh-I'm-gonna-puke!" by reminding myself, "oh look, you only have to do this for 10 more seconds!" Then a few weeks down the road you can look back at how long you were able to hold out at the beginning, and see measurable results in your ability to maintain speed and to feel comfortable while doing so.
For the record - I'm not doing speed training for the purpose of achieving a desired time during my half marathon. There is a part of me that would sure like to beat 2:15:00, because that would beat Rebecca's (from Biggest Loser Season 8) time. But my primary goals for this first half marathon are to finish with a smile on my face (and not a barfy grimace like my first 5k... lol!), and to have FUN! I'll be in Disneyworld for crying out loud!
I was scheduled to do 8 miles of running this morning, including a warm-up and cool down mile (2 total) and 6 miles of speed intervals in the middle. It's tough to work 8 total miles into a workout when I'm on a 2 hour time-limit with the Kid's Club at our gym, but I can't let that stop me from trying, right?
Today I jumped back in to the C25K-ish speed intervals I've been doing with Daniel. He's on week 2, which consists of six sets of (90s jog + 2min walk). For fun, I like to shake up that 90 second interval and do 30 @ 5mph, then 30 @6mph, then 30 @ 7mph. The first time I tried that I was thrilled that I could hold out at an 8:34min/mile pace for a whole 30 seconds. Only about 16 more of those and I'll be able to do a whole sub-9min mile. Haha!
After completing those six sets, I was only about 2 miles in so I decided to try what I'm calling "super sets" in my head. I jumped up the times to 1 minute at 5mph, then 1 minute at 6mph, and then 30 seconds at 7mph. About halfway through that 6mph minute my booty and legs are absolutely burning! So I really had to dig deep and focus on running strong to get through the last 30 seconds of 6mph, and then to brave an additional 7mph for 30 seconds. It is crazy to see what our bodies are capable of if we will just risk a little and push outside our comfort zone.
After the first three sets I was feeling pretty strong. When I headed into the fourth one I started bargaining with myself about it being the "last one." When I get to that point in my mind, the best thing to do is to trick myself. lol. So I told myself I only had to finish the set I was on and then I could be done. After my two minutes of recovery walking, however, I was feeling strong enough to start into a fifth set. I did happen to pout my way through that set and was starting to feel all wimpy and whiney - but I made myself finish it anyway. "Surely this is the last one!" But after another 2 minutes of recovery walking I convinced myself, "if you've already done five, you can do just one more." So I did. If I had a trainer to blame I'm sure I would hate their guts, but it's a little confusing to be mad at yourself for tricking your own self into pushing harder than you thought you could.
Perhaps I am a little crazy? :)
In all, I finished 5 miles doing those intervals, and then hit some sort of mental wall. I could have dug a little deeper and pushed past it again, but I found the convenient excuse of "oh look- I only have half an hour left" and talked myself into biking the last three miles of my workout. I think I did those three miles in 15:03? Not 100% sure.
What a fun day!