Saturday, April 11, 2009

Rain, pain go away


My running goals for the weekend were to run speed drills today and run trails tomorrow. The rain was coming down hard by the time I headed to the track and I considered staying in and pushing my pace on the treadmill. To me, running outdoors is always preferable to indoors and I decided that a little rain couldn't hurt. Make that a lot of rain combined with fairly cold temperatures and some wind.

When I arrived at the school there was a truck parked on the track and a man was removing hurdles and other equipment and placing them into the truck. He told me he was setting up for a lacrosse game that was supposed to start in an hour. I decided to get my running in quickly before the throngs arrived. Of course, with this weather, most of the game attendees would likely be either players or coaches. I wore my new trail shoes as a hedge against the rain, a long sleeve technical shirt, a pullover light rain jacket and my bamboo running pants. My hands were freezing and I wished I'd also brought gloves.

I did 4 x 400s, running at as fast a pace as I could maintain without risking further injury to my sore leg. I was very surprised by how difficult it was to do this. While I have come far in terms of aerobic conditioning I finished each 400 meter segment feeling more winded than I do when I run five miles straight. It clearly comes from the amount of work being done relative to the distance. According to my Garmin, my overall speed for 1600 meters averaged 7.8 MPH which translates to a 7:41/mile pace. This may be true but I ran 200 meters at an easy pace in between speed segments so that 7:41 does not represent a contiguous mile. It sure made me appreciate other runners I know who regularly break 7:30/mile over multiple miles.

I somewhat regretted how much I pushed myself today, especially after I got home and noticed that the pain had returned to my leg. I stretched and felt better but I need to keep that injury protected over the next three weeks. Today's speed session was not a full workout in terms of total exercise time so, time allowing, I may run a couple of easy miles on the treadmill later in the day. I hope the rain stops early enough to allow the trails to dry sufficiently for a Sunday run. But if a little rain didn't hurt today, a little mud won't hurt tomorrow.

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