Following the FIRST program, I ran an interval speed workout tonight . One mile slow, then 4 x 800 splits at paces listed in the FIRST book. Then a mile or so cooldown. For those who are not versed in speed workout out terms (which I really am not either), that means running 800 meters 4 times at a certain pace. Also, there is a rest interval of about 2 minutes between each 800 meter sprint.
FIRST has me running my 800 meter interval in 3:12. I run most of my miles on a treadmill, which posed an interesting quandary: how to figure out the proper treadmill speed setting to run the interval. And the book lists about 5 different intervals I will eventually use, and I might change my goal pace, so I thought I would create a simple Excel spreadsheet to do it. To spare everyone the hour of my life it consumed, I didn't find an elegant Excel solution.* So, anyway, to cut to the chase, that translated into a 9.3 mph treadmill setting. That is fast for me. That was also going to mean lots of treadmill speed changing and to avoid having to think, I actually wrote out the workout on a little Post-it to stick to the treadmill while I ran. (The post it was eventually soaked with sweat and fell off.)
It was a good workout; not a crushing one, just solid and challenging. The 800 meters were a good interval distance for me. Enough to be challenging, but not so much that I thought I wouldn't make it. It sure made the workout fly by, too. I was always looking at the clock to see how much of the interval I had or how much time until the next one. I did 5 miles before I knew what happened. And I am not completely wiped out. As much as I had been dreading this workout, it actually felt great. Maybe this FIRST thing isn't going to grind me into the ground.
I also ran all of these paces at the treadmill listed pace. My footpod -- which is calibrated with my GPS watch -- always has me running faster (and thus farther), but that is another post for another time.
My Nike Lunar Trainers are set to arrive Friday. I can't wait. I'll probably take them for a quick spin Friday night and then maybe use them on the Saturday 15 miler. But tomorrow is a rest day. Ahhh...
* It is easily done on paper I know. The first step is to convert 3:12 per 800 meters into a per mile pace. Easy enough, even in Excel, but then try taking that per pace and calculating miles per hour -- all in excel, using the formulas rather than just setting it up to do the math. I figured out a way, but it was basically using excel as a calculator and not the best way.