Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Speed Work and Snow

My previous experiences with speed work have been less than desirable, so naturally, I'm not real eager to get myself to the track for speed workouts.

Speed work essentially trains your body to run faster and improves your VO2 max, your body's ability to take up and utilize oxygen. There are different types of speed work, but probably the most common is intervals. There are a plethora of speed workouts, but we won't get too technical about that here.

My first trip to the track was about 3 months after I started running and was in August of 2011, the hottest summer on record in the state of Oklahoma. It was all I could do to make it around the track even once! My next attempt at speedwork was a month later. The temperature was much better and I had a little more confidence, so I was pushing myself when I felt a sudden, sharp "pop" in my groin. OUCH!!  Groin strains are painful and take a long time to heal, for the record. Consequently, I've had a very bad attitude about speedwork. As a coach of a local running program, I have to participate in the speed workouts, but I haven't been giving it any effort which doesn't set a good example for the participants. I wasn't thrilled to see speed work on the training schedule for this week, but in an effort to be a better coach, I decided to embrace speed workouts.

My enthusiasm was short lived when I saw the weather forecast predicting SNOW!!  I kept watching the weather radar and my email hoping that a blizzard would occur and the track workout would be cancelled. I'm not opposed to running in the cold or in the rain but being cold and wet at the same time is not my idea of fun! At 5pm, I checked my email again. No cancellation! I grudgingly changed into my running clothes, prayed that I had on enough layers and headed to the track. Initially, we warmed up and ran the first couple sets of 800m run/200m walk in the freezing rain w/ a brisk north wind. The rain eventually changed over to snow as we completed our last 2 intervals. I was soaked to the bone and frozen but something happened to me out there on that track in the rain and snow. I felt like I was flying around that track! I was able to run the entire interval with minimal difficulty and no IT band pain. I WAS ACTUALLY ENJOYING MYSELF! I was reminded, yet again, of why I love running. I wasn't looking forward to that workout but was so glad I had done it when it was all said and done. From now on out, I'm pretty sure I will have a different opinion of speed work and will be a better runner/coach for it in the long run!!

What is your favorite speed workout??

Have you ever run in the snow??  Did you enjoy it??

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