On the Right Track?

Now it is time to start varying my workouts. One of my favourites is going to the local high school track and running intervals.

I tend to target just over a 5k run (3.25 miles). That’s 13 laps and generally find that my first lap out from cold is my fastest. I would run hard, over-reaching strides with heel landings that were sometimes sub-six minutes, followed with intervals at my normal 8:30 pace.

For my visit today I was keen to ensure that I didn’t slip into any of my old bad habits, so I ran four laps (1 mile) as a warm up around my current favourite pace of 7:03. Then I did a fast lap ensuring that I didn’t let my form slip. I clocked a solid 6:32 then switched back to the slower pace of 7:07 for a recovery lap. The next fast lap was at 6:42 so slightly slower, but still not too bad. Another recovery lap and then a fast lap clocking a 6:39 pace. By this point I was burnt out so I chose to do a walking recovery for the next lap. The walk was a 12:32 pace which isn’t exactly slow but was a very welcome break. It was then time to kick it back up and I got a 6:29. One more recovery lap at 7:49 (too slow) and then the final lap. This was a go for it lap and I pulled a 6:15 out of the bag! Very happy.

My technical focus during the run was on foot strike, pushing my legs backwards and trying to increase my stride length without over-reaching. I could actually feel the difference from the techniques I’ve been using and I noticed that rotating my hips forward and leading with my belly also made a big difference to the feel for the fast laps.

Running at a track is a good place to work on technique and on intervals because it is really easy to see when you need to start and stop the different sections, and you can see what’s coming up and focus on your finish lines. Using the lines on the track to mark when you should accelerate a little more to try and keep your lap average high is also useful. Using a simple app to track your lap count is also a good idea and one less thing to try and keep track of.

I really am enjoying this new running style and my new level of engagement with my runs. It is good to feel so involved and not like I am just a passenger along for the ride.

Plus, it was a beautiful morning today so I took a quick snap on the walk into the track.

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