Saturday, February 10, 2007

400 Meter Speed Work

Today I worked out with the Southern Cal Walkers at the Cal Tech track. The drill Carl Acosta had planned out was a couple of 800 meter repeats after a good warm up, but I decided to do a couple of 400 meter repeats instead.

Last week I did a disappointing 10:28 mile on tired legs so I started thinking about what I could do to bring my speed up. I did the distance work, the easy miles and the tempo (aerobic or lactate threshold) walks, what I was missing was the really fast short economy, anaerobic, or whatever you want to call it--as fast as possible without going out of control walk. The first 400 meters I started with a good effort and finished with a sprint on the last straightaway. After a couple minutes to recover I did another 400 meters. This one was more of a steady, even effort.
1st 400 meters - 2:26 - 9:44 minutes per mile pace
2nd 400 meters - 2:21 - 9:24 minutes per mile pace

The point of this exercise was to feel what it's like moving at under 10 minutes per mile. Now I've just got to extend this effort to a mile and beyond.

Of course I shouldn't loose sight of my immediate goals. The marathon is just three weeks away and I wanted to complete it at a 12 minute per mile pace. What seemed like a pie-in-the-sky dream is nearly within the realm of possibility for me. A marathon at 12 minutes per mile equals a finishing time of 5:14:24. In order to make it in 5 hours the pace would have to be 11:27 minutes per mile, what I did on the 10-mile race. Using the calculators on the NARF site, a 9:58 mile or a 1:05:33 10k would get me to that 11:27 marathon pace. However, no point setting up for disappointment--I'll stick to my original goals for now.

Shoes felt good, knees are fine, time to press on.