I Conquered 12x400s!

Yesterday I completed my first speed workout on the Hanson's plan (overview of the speed workouts here)--12 x 400-meter repeats--and lived to tell the tale! Ha! Seriously, it wasn't nearly as bad as I thought it would be, and I learned some things in the process.
YES! Nailed the 12x400s!

Last week I practiced getting up early to eat a light breakfast before running, instead of drinking juice or taking a gel like I'd usually do. Yesterday I woke up at 4 a.m. and ate the breakfast I'd practiced--small banana, half bagel with peanut butter and jelly, and tea. I didn't leave the house until 5, so that allowed for plenty of time to let my breakfast digest and make sure everything was out of my system.

The Workout
I do my speed workouts on the flat trail between PNC Park, our baseball stadium, and Heinz Field, our football stadium, with Downtown right across the river. That section is just over a half-mile and pretty perfect, not to mention scenic, for repeats. There's usually no one out so early, but yesterday four guys fishing got to watch me run back and forth countless times. :)

It was 73 degrees and very humid when I went out, but I tried to put it out of my mind. I was doing the workout regardless of the weather so tried not to let it be a factor, at least mentally.

I have been so used to doing half-mile and mile repeats for speedwork that I forgot just how short 400 meters is. The good thing is that each interval was over before I knew it, but the bad thing is that 400 meters is not much time to hit your pace. The book prescribes paces based on your 5K and 10K goal times. Based on my 30:00 5K goal time, I was supposed to do each repeat in 2:28, a 9:55 pace--so, about my goal 10K pace. I had to keep checking my Garmin every 10 or 15 seconds, which was a pain while I was doing it, but it really made the workout go by quickly. I realized that I would start every interval at about an 8:50 pace and then would slow up to get to around 10:00 and then just try to hone in a bit to get to 9:55. It worked! I hit 2:28 on the nose 4 times, was off by 1 second 5 times, and off by 2 seconds 3 times. I'm so bad at pacing so was really proud of that!

Because I was running at a slower 10K pace, the intervals really weren't bad. I never had that "I'm dying!" feeling like I do when running at my 5K pace. In fact, the only one I felt was really tough was the very last one, where, during the rest period before, I wondered if I really could run fast again. But I could, and I did. With 400 meters recovery after each interval, warm-up, and cool-down, I ran 7.75 miles in 1:37. That's the longest and farthest I've ever run before work.

I'd taken a salt stick cap before the workout and another one, along with a gel, halfway through, and I never had stomach problems and felt great the whole run. I also carried a water bottle with Nuun and a handana to mop off my sweat. The handana was so heavy with sweat when I was done, and I was completely drenched but also completely happy. 

Elation, Then Fatigue
I came home on cloud nine. I usually try not to talk about running at work because I realize non-runners could care less, but I couldn't help telling some of my friends at work that I ran for an hour and 37 minutes before work. I made sure to fuel properly immediately after my workout and then at lunch. I felt great and planned to do a strength workout later in the night.

But by 3 in the afternoon, I was yawning and barely functioning. When I came home from work, the only thing I could do was crawl into bed and cuddle with my dog.

Nichole from Grey Shirt Running mentioned an amino acid sports drink for recovery, and I ordered some. I think I'll need a bit of help on the recovery front. But otherwise, this was a pretty successful workout!

Next week is 8 x 600-meter repeats at 9:39 pace. This one's going to be tougher, but I'm ready for it.

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