Saturday, February 17, 2007

Serious Speed Work

Today I did some speed work with the Southern Cal Walkers at the Cal Tech track in Pasadena. After warming up the drill was 300 meter repeats. My best time for 300 meters was on November 11 when I walked it at 1:47 or about 9:30 min/mi pace. The first lap was nice and easy with a 100 meter slow recovery then I started putting in a good effort on the other repeats. My heart rate at the end of these repeats was well into the mid to high 170 bpm range so this would qualify as an anaerobic or "economy" workout. Building up lactic acid in the legs feels terrible and my heart and lungs seemed like they would explode--the best part of this workout was when it was over and I wasn't aching like I do after a long 20-mile workout. Here is how it went:
1st 300 meters - 1:48   9:39 min/mi   6:00 min/km
2nd 300 meters - 1:31 8:08 min/mi 5:03 min/km
3rd 300 meters - 1:37 8:40 min/mi 5:23 min/km
4th 300 meters - 1:39 8:51 min/mi 5:30 min/km
5th 300 meters - 1:39 8:51 min/mi 5:30 min/km
Average Pace (with warm up lap) - 8:50 min/mi 5:29 min/km

That's pretty good for me, but the first effort was just a warm up so I should take it out of the average:
Average Pace (without warm up lap) -  8:37 min/mi   5:21 min/km

Just last week I did a 400 meter lap at 9:24 so it seems to me that I should be well on my way to walking a mile in under 10 minutes. Since I have met all my other short term goals like walking 3 miles under 12 min/mi, walking a long (10 mile+) workout under 12 min/mi and the 6-mile morning walk under 12 min/mi, there is only the 10 minute mile goal and finally doing the marathon at 12 min/mi pace.

However, the 10 min/mi will have to wait--I've got a rest day tomorrow (no more long distance workouts) and strength training on Monday. Next week I'll do a couple of hard 3-mile walks and in two weeks it is all easy miles until the marathon on March 4th.

Finally, just to keep things in perspective, I saw Mark Green set an American 50-54 year old age group record in the 50 kilometer distance with an average pace of 8:55 minutes per mile--I've got a long way to go to get to that level of conditioning!