When you were a kid, did you ever strap on a pair of tennis shoes (because back then they had Velcro tabs and all athletic shoes were called “tennis” shoes) and just take off running at a sprint for the pure joy of it? Did you feel invincible? Did you feel like you could just take flight and be free? Did you feel fast?
Apparently I haven’t grown up yet because I got a new pair of running shoes this past weekend and I have high expectations that they are going to make me a faster runner!
Actually, I began to break them in last night with my second track workout with Portland Running Company. I’m trying to commit to attending weekly, at least through February, though I’m hopeful I can continue throughout my Boston Marathon training cycle. I’m more committed than ever because something magical really did happen.
I felt fast.
The previous week my pace flirted with a 7:00 minute-mile but never dropped into a (high) 6:00 minute pace. The workout last night was different from the week before: a mile cut-down. We started at 1600, then dropped to 1200, 800, 400, and 200. Each separated by one minute of rest between each set.
Even as a fairly seasoned runner (though without being a high school or collegiate runner), I’m learning new things all the time. For instance, I didn’t know what a mile cut-down was until last night. (I found some good information on the mile cut-down on the McMillian Running website.) I also had never take a true rest break during interval training before, meaning that instead of reducing my speed but continuing to run at an easy pace, I actually stopped and walked for about a minute before moving onto the next round. I found it was beneficial and glad I gave it a shot because I would not have stopped had I been training on my own.
I also learned that one session can provide measurable progress. While the outcome for speed sessions are going to vary based on the desired goal(s), it seemed that my Garmin was stuck at a 7:00 pace, no matter how hard I tried. Imagine how pleased I was to see my time finally dip down to a 6:30 pace last night! Even better, on my last round, which was 200 meters, I gave it one more punch and was shocked when I caught a glimpse of my watch. It read 5:30.
So apparently I can run fast when I want to. Maybe not at a sustained pace of 5:30, but boy! Just seeing my time drop after a week gives me confidence in my ability for continued improvement.
Of course, I haven’t ruled out the magic of the new shoes but either way, WOO FRICKIN’ HOO!