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First Outdoor Speedwork

Running is meant to be done outside, isn’t it? I know there are circumstances where a treadmill is necessary- but it’s always better outside.

Today’s run just served as another example of that truism.  Until now, I had only done speedwork on the treadmill.  As I elaborated in one of my first posts, I don’t have a running watch, and being relatively new at running I’m unsure how I should pace myself for speedwork on the road.  The treadmill was a good way of doing regular, set intervals and ensuring that I didn’t slow down halfway through (cheat, basically).

This morning I had vaguely set a goal of trying some sort of speedwork.  I decided to do my favorite running route- straight down Commonwealth Ave to where it meet Mount Vernon and back, a nice, easy, flat 4.77 miles.  I’m not sure why I love running it in the mornings, but I do.  Because it’s flat, it’s well suited for trying sprints or whatever.

I know I should have had a better, more specific plan than just ‘speedwork’ but sometimes, at 5:30 in the morning, just putting one leg in front of the other is all I can muster.

Initially, I thought this was going to be one of those mornings.  My legs were just stiff and heavy feeling.  After going slow for about 10 minutes, I tried sprinting every other block, but that just didn’t feel right either.  I didn’t want to hurt myself since my body had just gotten out of bed, so I just kept taking it slow.

Then, around 1.5 miles, something came over me.  I’m not sure what, but I just started picking up the pace.  I ran at a really good clip for the next mile, to the end of Commonwealth- without a watch I’m not exactly sure of my pacing, but I could feel my heart rate elevate and breathing accelerate so I know it was faster than normal for sure.  It felt great pushing myself like that!

I forced myself to slow for a bit at the turn around- again, wanted to make sure I didn’t get injured.  But I followed this pattern two more times, and by the end of the run I definitely felt more fatigued than my usual runs.  I came back feeling completely elated, as only a tough but good workout can do. And it just felt so much better breathing in fresh air than stale gym air.

And as  reward, my husband brought me a chocolate peanut butter cupcake from Best Buns, the best cupcake bakers in the DC area! And here’s a picture of it, taken with my new camera that arrived on Monday.  (Told you chocolate peanut butter cupcakes would make an appearance.)

Don't you wish you had one?


2 responses »

  1. That sounds like a great speed session! I think people (especially me) get to caught up in what the watch says… but running based on exertion is the exact same thing. Probably even better because you’re not limiting yourself to a goal time 🙂

  2. That’s true, and it is nice to just go with the flow, in a sense. Still, would be nice to have a more accurate idea of timing, so I’ll remain jealous of all the techie runners out there until I get my own!


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