Since I got my new training plan from Coach Doug about two weeks ago, I have been a little bit nervous about the workout planned for today. And, over the past 3-4 weeks I have been losing my sense of humor and patience with running on the treadmill. I ran several 100 mile weeks and many 80-90 mile weeks on the treadmill over the winter. I did long runs, tempo runs, and speedwork. I didn't complain (much) but the treadmill just feels so much harder to me than outside.
I am not a treadmill lover. I am very grateful for my treadmill, as where I live and with my schedule it just is not possible to train outdoors all year long. I could probably run outside all year, but tempo runs, goal pace miles, and track work just wouldn't happen - most runs would be slow, careful runs on ice and snow. So the treadmill lets me train how I want to when I wouldn't be able to otherwise, and for that I am grateful. But give me the option and I will run outside every single time. And that is 100x more true when we are talking about a long run, a tempo run, or speedwork.
I told myself that I WOULD run this workout outside, if there was any possible way. I decided I wouldn't care about the temperatures, and if the track was clear of ice and snow, I would be on it. Josh and the kids scoped it out for me yesterday at practice and with the exception of one tiny stretch, the inside three lanes were all crystal clear. (The outside lanes, shot put ring, and jump pits are all still under quite a bit of snow and ice.)
I left my house at 5:30am and drove to the high school. It was 17 degrees and still super dark, but stepping onto that track for the first time in MONTHS was still exciting. I did my warm up, drills, and strides and then got to work.
The workout was written as - 1x2000m repeat, 8x800m repeats, 1x2000m repeat. A little scary, right? I was confident I could and would do it, but I knew it would be tough. I had never done a 2000m repeat, and I definitely had never done one before and after a set of 800's. I was also a little worried about how I would do pacing myself since I had been doing my speedwork on the treadmill for so long. I decided to just focus on one section of the workout at a time, and not worry about what I had already done or what I had left to do. I told myself what I tell my kids all the time, "Your best is good enough."
It was a really good workout. I did the first 2000m in 7:50, then did the 8x800's in 2:56, 2:58, 2:54, 3:01, 2:57, 2:58, 3:00 and 2:59, and then did the final 2000m in 7:52, followed by my cool down routine.
This was a butt-kicker for sure. It was a long, hard workout. But it was awesome too, and it was a confidence builder. It felt great to be on that track, even though it was really dang cold and the wind picked up during the end of the 800's. My face was numb for a good hour after I got back home and my throat was grouchy. I can't wait to be out there without three layers of clothes and a headlamp on. :)
I am completely exhausted (and will be in bed shortly), but not too sore. I am really happy with how good I feel. I have said it before and I will say it again, there is nothing like the feeling at the end of a tough track workout, especially one that scared you a little before you started. Yes, my best was good enough.
I am hoping to be able to do all of my running outside now. It's looking good for my tempo run and my 20 miler this week.
Sometimes I read other blogs by runners who live in mild climates and have other runners to do workouts with (how grand would that be?) and I have serious envy, but then I figure that all those hours on the treadmill, all the runs in the dark and cold, and pushing through tough workouts all alone, will only make me a tougher runner.
How about you? Are you a treadmill lover? Hater? Do you love the track? Do you do your workouts alone or with other runners?
"There are as many reasons for running as there are days in the year,
years in my life. But mostly I run because I am an animal and a child,
an artist and a saint. So, too, are you. Find your own play, your own
self-renewing compulsion, and you will become the person you are meant
to be." - George Sheehan
"Running is the greatest metaphor for life, because you get out of it
what you put into it." - Oprah Winfrey
"Tough times don't last but tough people do." - A.C. Green