One Long Acceleration

AccelerationI will start by filling everyone in on last week’s workout.  Another Lunch With(out) Eric.  The last few workouts have been geared towards a sub-5:00 mile which we will get to at the end of this post.  A few runners have gotten the late season bug to make a push for a sub-5:00 mile.  The truth is… it’s always a good time of year to attempt it.  The elusive standard by which most all of us “runners” are judged.  I know for some reason that seems to put us in some magical category, but the truth is unless you can come close to that time… it’s hard to understand how fast the true elites of our sport are running.  Two weeks ago Dathan Ritzenhein broke the American record in the 5,000 meters and his last 800m was 2:00.  The week before that Bekele won the world championships in the 10,000 m and his last mile was a blistering 4:05.  So, I guess my point to this is that it is all a matter of perspective.  Speaking of perspective… One of the guys dabbling with the concept of a sub-5:00 mile just 16 months ago had a life-goal of a sub-6:00 mile!  How is that for perspective?

Last week’s workout was a simple ladder of 400, 800, 1200, 800, 400.  All targeted at 5:00/mile pace or better.  I know a few that hit their marks, and we’re expecting them to hit their mark next week!  I, however, mostly missed my marks last week.  (it’s hard to hit those elusive moving targets)

I have been thinking about this workout for over a year.  It is something I wanted to do on the track that would keep everyone together and yet stress us all equally to our limits.  It was a progressive tempo run on the track.  The run was broken into quarters and run continuously.  We started at 8:00/mile pace and dropped 5 seconds per quarter.  Simple.  Not really… considering I had each lap’s cumulative time written down my wrist so that we knew the pace and the time goal to hit (Bill also had a paper copy and held it the whole time to keep the group on pace).  The quarters descended accordingly: 2:00, 1:55, 1:50, 1:45, etc.  The time was cumulative: 2:00, 3:55, 5:45, 7:30, etc.

It started out very casually.  In fact, I saw John (IM) do a bit of race walking on the backstretch.  We hit our marks for the most part (within a few seconds) and the pace slowly increased.  The first mile came and went and soon enough we were running.  We hit the 1 1/2 mile and Bill announced that the next lap would start 6:00/mile pace.  People were hurting.  The pace was increasing and it was only getting harder.  No breaks.  No end until you just gave up.  After the 1 3/4 a couple people dropped, then a few more after the 2 mile mark.  Bill, John (IM) and I made it to 5:00/mile pace.  They immediately were able to accelerate to make up the 5 second difference needed to continue.  It gapped me immediately and I mentally lost the desire.  I pulled off after the curve and watched John and Bill muscle through that last lap.  They finished strongly but were obviously done by the end of the lap.  An awesome workout.

Keith and Matt B. were doing a workout of a different sort.  Halves and Quarters at well below 5:00 pace.  Ouch!

Next week:  An official attempt (by at least two) at a sub-5:00 mile.  The rest of us will figure something a little more fitting out for ourselves.