I was WAY overdue for sprints. In a perfect world, my marathon training should consist of one race pace run, one sprint workout, and one long run per week. But, this is not a perfect world so I haven’t done a sprint workout in two months. Leave it to me to wait until the week of my half-marathon to start doing things the right way.
After the hiatus, sprinting wasn’t easy. I was only able to rally for four out of the six 1/2-mile intervals I could easily complete last January before the Key West Half-Marathon. My pace was also average, ranging between 7:24 min/mi and 7:36 min/mi. (Early last year I was putting forth 10% less effort and running each interval about 20 seconds faster.)
Even so, I’m proud of what I was able to finish. In the end, I got in nearly 5 miles: a 1 mile warm-up at 9:13 min/mi, 2 miles of sprint intervals with 0.7 miles of walking in between, and a 1 mile cool down at 9:15 min/mi. Plus, I came to three important conclusions:
1. Sprinting is a good way to burn off stress. Running is my therapy. Period. But, sprinting pushes you to your physical limits in a way no other type of workout can and is therefore a great way to channel and get rid of stress. Today’s workout was a perfectly timed antidote to my currently hectic life.
2. Rap music is great for keeping pace. Rap music can be a valuable tool for setting and maintaining a goal pace. For example, during the Key West Half Marathon, the rhythm of She Can Get It by DJ Laz helped me find the 9:15 min/mi pace I needed to PR. Similarly, Lemon by N.E.R.D—yes, I finally switched up the soundtrack—allowed me to reach the elusive 7:24 min/mi pace during my best interval.
3. A heart rate monitor is an invaluable tool for sprint workouts. A few weeks ago—on the training log for January 7 2018—I mentioned my heart rate monitor, which pairs with my Garmin watch, has started to chafe. I haven’t worn it since and haven’t missed it…until today. One of the stats that guides my pace and effort during sprints is my heart rate. I aim for 90% my max heart rate (around 180bpm), waiting for it to lower to 70% (around 140bpm) between intervals. Without my heart rate monitor, I was running blind.
Playlist: My “Move” playlist on Spotify