Descending Time Trials: Pace, Pace, Pace!

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Not close to where I ran today, the other side of the park. Nor is the weather remotely similar. Today it is hazy, overcast.

As soon as I read this post by Matt Fitzgerald on Competitor.com a week or two ago I knew I’d have to incorporate it into my 5K training. I didn’t have a track handy, so just used the Garmin to run 1600 meters (a mile), then 1200, 800, 400, with 4 minute breaks in between. Fitzgerald promises a gruelling workout, and it did not disappoint. My head was spinning afterwards. I am still a little dizzy. I wore my racing flats. Ran a couple miles warm ups and nervously trotted off to pee a couple times. Waited around for a bit before the actual workout. Just like a race!

Grossly speaking, with the rests taken out, I hit my goals: 2.5 miles in 15 minutes, about 6:00 min/mile pace. But my pace was ludicrously uneven and plummeting in the mile section, really underscoring the need to focus on pacing, pacing, pacing. The inefficiencies involved in bad pacing truly keep you honest, or running at sub-par pace in the long term.

I’d really like to improve on this workout. I’m not even that concerned with the time (that will come), but the pacing really needs to be worked on! Ten to fifteen second differences in 400 meter laps is just silly!

It’s interesting (to me, at least) that a few seconds difference in a quarter mile time is a rather large difference in min/mile pace. And that if I hadn’t “gone out fast” I probably would have run a little faster overall. Also evident, the “end in sight” phenomenon of running a relatively fast final, single 400 meters.

Here are the 10, quarter-mile, laps of the workout proper:

1 1:26.38 5:46 min/mile pace

2 1:31.82 6:07 min/mile pace

3 1:33.99 6:16 min/mile pace

4 1:39.18 6:37 min/mile pace [about 6:11 min/mile pace for the first mile]

[4 mins rest]

5 1:24.70 5:39 min/mile pace

6 1:34.19 6:17 min/mile pace

7 1:33.75 6:15 min/mile pace

[4 mins rest]

8 1:25.56 5:42 min/mile pace

9 1:33.13 6:13 min/mile pace

[4 mins rest]

10 1:19.11 5:16 min/mile pace

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