Thursday, March 12, 2009

How NOT to Do a Track Workout

Forgive me Coach, it's been four years since my last track workout.

It started off good. I got there early, making sure I gave myself extra time to find the track. A few others were there already but Coach Bill wanted me to go ahead and do the workout he prescribed for me vs. what the others would be doing. OK, no problem, it looked simple enough:

10 min warm-up and 10 min cool-down
In between, do twice:
3 min @ 80% effort, 2 min recovery
2 min @ 85% effort, 1 min recovery
1 min @ 90% effort, 3 min recovery

From there, things went downhill.

We've had unusually cool weather up until last weekend so I've been spoiled running in 60-70 degs. Last night, however, it's 82 and kind of windy. I got started on my warm-up and notice immediately that my mouth is incredibly dry and my contacts are freaking out. Behind my sunglasses I'm blinking and winking like mad trying to get some extra moisture to them. On my first lap, I see a sizable blurry object on the track. I go around it but on the second lap, stop and discover that it's someone's shirt, which I move onto a fence nearby so no one (i.e., me) trips on it.

By the end of my warm-up, though, I can see fine and my thirst is not so bad. I take a big swig of water from my bottle anyway, stretch and see that everyone else in the running group is now warming up running in the opposite direction that I just ran. Oh yeah, I forgot about doing warm-ups and cool-downs in the CW direction. Oh well ...

But now people are running *towards* me as I'm about to begin my intervals. I check with Coach about track etiquette, passing and such, and he says, don't worry, they'll be done soon. Just run on the inside number one track and move to the outside during your recoveries. You'll be running faster than them.

What? Ha, no way. You haven't seen me on a track lately.

But his words did elevate me as I set off on my first 3 min interval. Umm, what effort level was I was supposed to run again?

One lap later I'm huffing and puffing hard and check my watch. Yikes, only 1:30-something? There's NO FREAKIN' WAY I can keep this up for another minute and a half. But I'm too stubborn to do anything but try my best to hang on. I finish a little shy of two laps.

During the 2 minute recovery, I walk slowly over to my water bottle and empty half of it into me. Dam, that was definitely not 80% effort level. What to do next time?

Well, that's easy. I can't possibly run harder so I'll try to run at 85% effort as I'm supposed to!

Another lap later, I'm feeling as I did before and struggling to hold on for just two minutes this time. ARGH! I'm killing myself!

And one very short recovery minute later, I'm off again at supposedly 90% effort, only I don't have time to figure out what 90% is and just go as hard as I can. Hey, it's just one minute, right?

For 60 LOOOOOOOOOOONG seconds I'm deeply regretting this decision. But, luckily, I now have a nice long 3 min recovery to drink up and regroup.

My next set of intervals was much better paced but there were some new challenges. For one, soccer balls from the infield (bunch of kids practicing) seemed to be rolling onto the track more often so I always had to be on the look out for them. Two, the other runners were now on the track too and some of them didn't seem to know/remember about moving over on their recoveries. And I couldn't think of what I was supposed to say to get them to move over (On your left? Coming through?) and ended up just blurting out, "Heads up, Heads up!" One woman gets out of the way and apologizes. Another one just uses her arms to cover her head ... Three, I got a darn side stitch during one recovery interval, very unusual for me.

So, I managed to survive but few things seemed to go right for me. I even ran the cool-down too fast just thinking about all my goof-ups. But, at least I ran that in the right (CW) direction.

PS - Anyone know what you're supposed to say to get slower people to move over on the track?

24 comments:

Karen said...

Sounds like you did ok--track workouts are so hard for me too. Kudos to sticking it out!

Calyx Meredith said...

I have no idea what you say to people to pass them/get them to move over. I'm always one of the slowest people so I stick to the outside. Sounds like you did a fantastic job on those intervals. Keep it up!

Road Warrior said...

I'm just amazed that you can run on the track at all. I wasn't even a full lap around before I got horribly bored and had to run into the field.

You'll get there, but the first part of the process will likely be a bit slower and more grueling.

jen said...

Great job!! I don't know the first thing about proper track work or ettiquite so I am impressed.

WADDLER26.2 said...

Great workout!! I have never passed anyone ever but I have heard "look out" and "move over" ALOT.

Coach Bill said...

awesome track workout last night - you did wonderful. tracks are the best place to learn proper pacing, mental determination and get faster! we preach startdard operation procedures for the track all the time - some folks are so beart after their hard efforts they forget to move. I usually pass them real close and sweat all over them - by the second or third time they realize.

Nice work Shirley - you are getting very strong and will be ready to fly at your races!

Shannon said...

To get people to move just yell, "Move B**ch, get out the way!" j/k.....

Sounds like you and I didn't have very good training runs this week. I bet the 82 degree weather played a major roll in your HR soaring.

Lisa Slow-n-Steady said...

I suggest saying "coming through" or "on your right/left" or wherever you are at. That would get me to move over. :-)

Formulaic said...

Sounds like a serious workout. I think that you did a great job out there.

As for moving people over?? Lead by example. and if that doesn work, let the air out of their tires, that'll teach em!

Arland said...

I miss the track workouts but my PF foot doesn't. The nice thing about intervals are they are over with pretty fast in most cases. We were doing them last summer in the 90+ degree heat..fun fun. As far as what to say to the others on the track, I was told once by a former coach to say "track" when they were in your lane...not sure if that's correct or not. I do know that slower runners should mover to the outside and let the faster ones have the inside lane.

Bruce Stewart (ブルース・スチュワート) said...

I hope you outline the track workouts you have to do, and I may even go out and try and do something myself (there are tracks not too far from home here).
As to what to say, in my opinion, everyone has an equal right to use the track, and surely if you are faster than someone, you can go round them (and run extra) rather than make them feel bad. However, if someone is really a nuisance (like kids just fooling around), then here I would say: "走開了!" which means "Move over" in fairly strong terms.
At the swimming pool there are occasionally those people who get in the wrong lane and head towards me. At first I will curve my way round them. If they persist, then I will just head straight at them, and see who is the first to change course.

Tammy said...

82 degree weather??? wow, sounds like it was a bit warm. Great job on the track workouts, It's been awhile since I've worked on a track, but was planning too once the weather got warmer, but yukkk it's still cold here today i woke up and it was 20. So, I just settle for interval training on the treadmill(at least I don't ahve to tell anyone to get out of the way) and long runs in cold weather. Spring should be here soon, no snow :D. I think that just telling folks on the track that your "coming trough" or " on the right or left is fine... I'd move over for a runner.

Tammy said...

82 degree weather??? wow, sounds like it was a bit warm. Great job on the track workouts, It's been awhile since I've worked on a track, but was planning too once the weather got warmer, but yukkk it's still cold here today i woke up and it was 20. So, I just settle for interval training on the treadmill(at least I don't ahve to tell anyone to get out of the way) and long runs in cold weather. Spring should be here soon, no snow :D. I think that just telling folks on the track that your "coming trough" or " on the right or left is fine... I'd move over for a runner.

Vickie said...

I don't think you REALLY want to know what I would say to someone who won't move, so I'll leave you to your imagination. (I've had to deal with all kinds out there: smokers walking; wide load women walking 3 across; kids on bikes; people walking dogs; etc.) As for track workouts. I haven't done them consistently in years either but I will tell you when I was running competitively and consistently on the track, I found it took up to 3 attempts to start feeling good and loose and as fast as necessary. So give yourself time. I'm betting next week will be easier, and you will have gotten all the obstacles out of the way that bothered you this week too.

TRI TO BE FUNNY said...

When I'm coming up behind someone, I usually yell, "Track" and they should move over to the right and let me pass on the left. When that doesn't work, I just push them over :-)

Way to hang in even though it wasn't pretty! Something about times track workouts fire up the internal engines!!

aron said...

oh no seeing 80's is making me think of summer running... GAH stay away high temps!

I havent done any intervals on a track, but I am hoping to in the next couple weeks. I think the tracks I would run on are fairly empty though.

Great job on the workout!! Sounds intense :)

X-Country2 said...

See, that's why I don't do track workouts. Not nearly tough enough. :o)

Rainmaker said...

Yeah, people going the wrong way on the inside lanes in a fail. :-/

For your passing issue, I just go with 'on your right/left' or 'runner back'.

Hang in there!

Sunshine said...

Those pictures of You on your last post are impressive!
But that smile of satisfaction on your face: priceless!!

The Alien said...

Great workout, In the end you ended up doing more than you were supposed!! Usually when I go to a track I'm the only one there... there was once another guy running too, but we never crossed each other, so I have no idea what to say if they get in the way.

PLANET3RRY said...

Following directions IS how to do a Track Workout and you did do that. despite the fact that YOU didn't feel all that great during it is not really that big of a deal because Track Workouts aren't supposed to be easy.

I use "on your left/right", unless I am doing sprints, then I just change my course to pass them. I don't want to interrupt my mental thinking and cause extra stress because they are there.

Cliff said...

I don't even know what's the diff between my 80% and 85% effort.

Way to get it done with so much distractions ;)

Petraruns said...

Wow - what a pace! Well done girl. I think the first time back at something is always hard - there's lots to get used to. You're on track - even your coach says so!

jeanne said...

whoa...that sounds...hard! i think track is challenging enough without throwing 80%, etc. into the mix. Just give me the minutes it should take me--that's much more simple!

No way to get slow people to move over except to scream "TRACK 1" as you plow into them.

nice job!