The track

After conquering the Alaska Marathon back in June Diane & Jeff started hinting at what was coming as I work towards the Savannah Rock-n-Roll Marathon. I had been running for a while, had a good base of miles, and seemed to be handling the training they were throwing at me well. It was time to see what I could really do they said. And to find out we were going to the track.

Ah, the track. I have less than fond memories of the track from high school. You are in fact looking at a picture of my high school track because it’s just down the street from home. Oh how I detested this track during soccer conditioning. I remember when they finish building the track my junior year, and stepping out onto the rubber surface for the first time. It was bouncy, and fun to walk on, but then, oh then I had to run just over 4 laps on that track, and I thought I might die (it is in fact slightly short, under 400 yards a lap). That track had it in for me, or at least that was the way I felt. When Jeff and I first talked about yasso 800s I was a little nervous about heading back to the track.

Fortunately, my time away from this track was good for me. I walked back out on it for the first time back in June, and ran a mile warm-up without a problem. Then the speed workout started. No problems with the track. Take that! I’m not going to lie, the yasso 800 workout isn’t easy. It’s named for the runner Bart Yasso who developed it as a training tool when he was training for marathons. He discovered that it was pretty accurate at predicting finish times. To my great fortune Jeff grew up racing against Bart. They’re still friends, so Jeff knows how to train his runners with yassos really well. oh boy! The workout in itself is fairly easy. You warm-up, run 800 yards (1/2 a mile) in the minute/second equivalent of your goal finish time. For instance my goal for Savannah is 4 hours 15 minutes, so I run the 800 in 4 minutes 15 seconds, and get 4:15 to recover before the next repeat. We started with 4 repeats, and are steadily building to 10. When you can run 10 800 repeats at your goal time it’s a good bet that you’ll finish at or near your goal time. This week I”m up to 8 repeats! I’ve had to change my approach with the heat in order to hit my times. Instead of jogging the recoveries I walk a good portion of them to get my heart rate back down. I know each one is making me stronger, and once it cools off some I shouldn’t have a problem jogging the recoveries. I’ve learned a lot about form and efficiency with the yassos. Speed comes from good form, and I’m getting there. So Friday morning I will once again be out on the track sweating it out. Watch out track, I’m coming!

Pace vs. Heart rate

So, this morning I finally managed to successfully export my first speed workout with my Garmin watch. I was surprised at how easy 6×400 felt and totally annoyed with all of the beeping my watch did telling me that my heart rate was too high. I’ve figured out my past tempo and long runs with the Mcmillian pace calculator, but that’s not how this speed workout was programed. The Garmin workouts are calculated with heart rate zones. I can’t tell you how hard it was to slow down enough to get my heart rate low enough to stop the beeping in zone 2. So, which is better, a speed workout done by pace or heart rate? I’ve only been running with a Garmin watch for 1 1/2 months, so I’m still a little new to this even after 3 years or running…