Reasonable expectations and adequate rest make for a good Thursday morning.
I took another stab at the speed workout that I attempted last week, but two very important things were different this time around. First, I wasn't shooting for any particular time. Second, I was running on fresh legs.
Really, that first reason is probably the more compelling of the two. Last week, I tried to maintain a 2:30 half-mile pace on one minute's rest, and quite frankly, that wasn't anywhere near enough. That kind of time is almost a sprint for me, and over the course of two lap, energy gets drained quickly. Today, my goal was to run strong, but not sprint. I wanted to be winded but not gasping. As a result, I started out well, and then I got better.
The rest probably helped a lot, too. For one thing, it made me more anxious to get out the door and put in the miles. For another, I didn't have the fatigue of running yesterday on my mind. And finally, knowing that I'm more rested and therefore better able to take on a workout of this kind makes me much more confident going into the weekend, where my troubles have been of late.
I did 8 half-miles today, and the first four went by extremely quickly. Around five, I really started to feel the effort, but it turns out that I was dropping time, so that probably had something to do with it as well. Last week, I quit after six, so when I finished my sixth one strong, I knew I was in the clear. I let myself push the second lap of the last one a bit, though it really took the energy out of me. Still, I was able (after a few minutes' breathing) to complete a one mile cool-down, which (when considering I also did a one mile warm-up) brought the entire workout to six miles, a personal record on a speed work day.
My favorite part of speed work is looking at my total time and wishing I could actually run that far that fast. If I just keep adding mileage, maybe one day I'll be able to compete with the elites of the sport. (Probably should have had this thought about ten years ago.) Or maybe I'll just get stronger and develop greater endurance.
That'll do for now.
8x800 on 1:00 rest