With the first indoor track meet scheduled for December 27 at the Armory, NYC, I began making the transition from cross-country to sprinting a couple of weeks ago. Instead of logging 40-mile weeks running back and forth to work, I began taking the train to 8th and Market and only running about 4 or 5 miles per day. The first thing I noticed was how incredibly relaxing these commuting runs had become. Compared to when I began the experiment in September, I can move at a comfortable pace and barely increase my breathing. I also feel like I can control my exertion more, and if I choose to run a little faster I am completely in tune with the effort. The distances getting back and forth from work are short enough that it feels like very little work, but long enough that I feel very refreshed and energized. This makes me want to experiment with distance to see what creates the best sense of balance — no matter what, the work week takes its toll, so simply running further and further is not necessarily optimal for an overall sense of balance.
Along with cutting back on mileage, I have begun to do more track workouts. We are developing a good core group of runners at the GPTC South Jersey satellite, so more and more of these track workouts are becoming more consistently high quality. Nothing compares to having a group to run with on the track. We inevitably end up going just a little harder and or faster than planned. That can be a problem if it gets out of control, but usually its a good thing.
I can tell I am lighter, stronger, and maybe faster as a result of the road work. It’s important to note that I never stopped doing speed work. Slow road miles might have a negative impact on speed if that is all one does for an extended time (I am not convinced this is true), so I made sure to do somewhat regular sessions on the track, keeping up the drills and short bursts of speed. The other night, four of us did a ladder workout of 3×300-200-100 and my third 300 was 46 seconds. Not blazing fast, but a little surprising at this point in the cycle. It was a hard effort, but I know I run much faster. Today seven of us did 3x2x300 Russian Intervals with a 100m jog between reps and a 500m jog between sets. We began at a warmup pace, hitting the first 300 in 62, and finished with a 43. That was a confidence booster. Again, the last rep was a hard effort, but it was our sixth and on relatively short rest.
It was ironic that I almost fell off the leader’s shoulder on the last rep. Cayhun went out fast and hard so I had to make back a little distance on him in the first 50. Then, on the curve, he took it up another notch and there was a brief moment when I almost let him go, but quickly buried the thought and with a couple of good strides got right back on shoulder. I say this was ironic because I had just been saying to Bruce that I have been really preoccupied lately with that exact moment of a 400 race. A month before the first meet, and I am obsessing over the small details, and a few days ago got stuck on thinking about that critical moment when I too often back off. It usually happens at only about 50 or 75 meters, and I second guess my speed, and that quickly throw a race away. If I learned anything from all the races I ran in high school it is that that moment is when I have to bear down and, if anything, crank it up a notch the way Cayhun did today. If its going to be a new pr, I have just run the whole race “balls out.”
Running an all out 400 on the December 27th will be scary, but I keep telling myself to really see what all my work these last several months amounts to. I am back at college weight, and my body fat is at 9%. I feel like a lean, mean, racing machine. It would be so pathetic to let fear keep me from testing this revamped machine!