After getting a weird flareup of an old hip injury earlier this summer, my awesome running doc had a few marching orders about how to resume my Marine Corps Marathon training. The main one: no long runs or speedwork until August.
I started my long runs in August, and have been chugging along with those ever since, with a successful 17-miler last week and a 20-miler in the near future. But I sort of forgot about the whole speedwork thing. See, the weather’s been nice here — like, really really nice — and on my three days of running per week, the last thing I want to do is be stuck on a track or treadmill. I’ve done some hill repeats on the trails, and thrown in some strides, but Sunday, I decided to head over to my closest high-school track and get my speed groove back.
Usually, in an attempt to get through speedwork in the quickest and most efficient manner possible, I do mile repeats. But Sunday, I mixed things up and did some Yasso 800s, or 800s run in the same minutes:seconds as your goal marathon time in hours:minutes. Since I’m looking to run somewhere around a four-hour marathon, that meant I’d have to run somewhere around 4 minutes for the 800s. My 5K pace is something like 7:30-minute miles, I hoped this would be a piece of cake.
Praise the running gods, it was! Each of my six 800s was 10 to 20 seconds below the four-minute mark, with most of them falling right around 3:45. I’m not sayin’ I’m gonna change my marathon goal, just that it’s nice to get some affirmation that my goal is very, very realistic. Plus, the 800s were kind of fun! They reminded me a little of one of my favorite swim sets, 5X200 freestyle: It’s a short enough distance to push yourself to go fast, but not so short that you have to do a whole mess of them to get any good distance.
Here’s the really awesome thing: I really meant to jog there and back. And I felt like I was jogging along the rolling hills on Colesville Road. But I was doing 8:20-minute miles on the 2.5-mile “jog” there, and did 9-minute miles on the way home only when I specifically told myself to pull back.
I rewarded myself with a long bath with lavender oil and epsom salt, which I’m convinced is better than the fanciest bath salts around for making things all fizzy and relaxing.
In other news: I can’t even tell you how much fun it’s been reading all the awesome, hilarious, touching and overall smart and well-written trail-running stories posted for the chance to win some Saucony ProGrid Xodus Trail-Running Shoes! The contest runs til the end of the day Thursday, which means there’s plenty of time to enter by posting a comment sharing your best trail-running story at the bottom of this post by the end of next week.