Tuesday Time Trials

Are you guys all caught up on the USATF scandal from this weekend? If not, here’s the Reader’s Digest version:

During the 3000-meter race, Gabriele Grunewald (sponsored by Brooks Running) clipped the heels of Jordan Hasay (sponsored by NIKE, coached by Alberto Salazar) on the bell lap. Grunewald went on to smoke the other ladies and win, qualifying her to represent Team USA at the World Indoor Championships in Poland. The clipping didn’t go unnoticed by the officials and was reviewed and thrown out, twice. Salazar continued to protest and Grunewald was subsequently disqualified, giving Hasay a spot on the team.

The ladies of Track & Field showing solidarity for Grunewald. (I don't know who to credit for this photo, but if someone knows, please email me.)

The ladies of Track & Field showing solidarity for Grunewald.
(I don’t know who to credit for this photo, but if someone knows, please email me.)

Twitter and the running world exploded, the case was reviewed again, and the DQ was thrown out, reinstating Grunewald as the champ. Grunewald and Hasay both released statements but I hear another controversy is brewing on the men’s side, again involving Salazar.

What’s this got to do with today’s post? Nothing except when I think of time trials, I think of track meets. Also, watching Mary Cain at these races was a delight.

She's also coached by Salazar and sponsored by NIKE. (Image courtesy of USATF.org)

She’s also coached by Salazar and sponsored by NIKE. (Image courtesy of USATF.org)

You know how when you’re in the middle of training season and you’re working hard and getting your runs in but you’re kinda sick of training and just want to go out there and see if all this work is paying off?

Do it.

Do a time trial. Set up a course (preferably flat), warm up like you would for race day, practice with your race day gear, and do it. I generally set the distance to be shorter than race distance by half or a little less.

Indeed.

Indeed.

What exactly does this do for you?

  1. It’s a good way to check in to see if your training is sufficient.
  2. It’s a solid exercise in race day prep and strategy.
  3. It’s a great confidence-boosting workout that lets you see what you can really do.
  4. It breaks up the monotony of doing the same ol’, same ol’ workouts.
  5. It’s a great workout.

If a time trial doesn’t go so well, and external circumstances weren’t the reason, it’s not too late in your training cycle to switch things up and still meet your race day goals.

Don’t be afraid of the speed and don’t be afraid to try a new racing strategy. Better you do it in a time trial workout that on race day morning.

Now go out and run!

Time Trials

Guys, the Sparkly Soul giveaway ends TONIGHT AT MIDNIGHT EST. Get your nominations in and check back tomorrow to find out who the lucky winner is! So excited!

So, I run for distance. My schedule usually says something like “run 5 miles” or “10 miles: 1 warm up, 4 marathon pace, 4 half-marathon pace, 1 all out” or the like. I don’t like to run for time…so, naturally I made that a workout this week. I just figure if I don’t like doing it, I should probably do it anyway.

The other thing is that as I get faster, I really need to be adding on the mileage. 5 miles ain’t what it used to be to me when I’m running it at 7:20-7:35 minute miles and I need more than a 38 minute workout. Plus, the only way you become a better runner is to run more and faster. So, here we go.

Yesterday I did a 60 minute time trial on the treadmill. Why the treadmill? Proximity to the bathroom. Would have loved to have done this outside on the West Side Highway or something but that’s just not in the cards quite yet.

Oh treadmill, people might talk s*#t about you but you are MY friend

Why 60 minutes? Because most of my runs have been 50 minutes or less lately and I wanted to hit that 60 minute mark. Here’s how it worked:

  • 1 mile warm up (8:30 pace)
  • 22 minutes at 7:48 pace (half-marathon pace-ish), worked my way down to 7:30 as I found my groove
  • With 30 minutes left, I dropped the hammer and ran 7:23, working my way down to 7:03
  • Last 5 minutes at 6:53
  • Walking cool down
  • Massive stretch

It generally takes me 3 or 4 miles to feel comfortable in my pace when I’m running any distance over 5 miles. Less than that and I’m just trying not to puke running a hard 5K and it’s a whole other ball game. So that’s why I didn’t lay the hammer down til about halfway through. And yes, 7:23 is “laying the hammer down” for me. Don’t judge. I knew if I did it too soon that I’d burn out. I did negative splits and really felt that I gave it my all for that day.

I did this for a mental as well as a physical challenge. I ran 7.8 miles in 60 minutes. Next time I may not count the warm up and see if I can’t get the full 8 miles in 60 minutes, a goal I’ve had for a while. The mental side of it was that I had to keep going, no matter how many miles I covered. So, because I had that 8 mile goal and was on a time crunch, I pushed and pushed to get to it.

This is a great way to get a hard run in on the treadmill or on an out-and-back run outside.See how many miles you cover in a given period of time and check yourself every month to see how you’ve improved. Doesn’t have to be 60 minutes, it could be 20. Pick a time and run for it!

Hopefully next month's time trial will be here! See you out there?

Now go out and run.