Week 5 – Key Run Workout #1

Well here we are on Week 5 of the plan, which means there’s only 12 weeks to go until the Marine Corps Marathon. Key Run #1 called for 10-20 minutes of easy running, then 3 x 1600 meters with a 1 minute recovery interval and 10 minutes of easy running for a cool down. My goal pace for the 1600m is 5:33 and going in to the workout I knew it was going to be tough to even get close to that time.

Temperature on my car thermometer was 98&degF as I drove to the local track after work. Couple with extremely high humidity, word on the street was the Heat Index had hit somewhere between 100 and 105°F! The other nagging doubt I had was the fatigue I still felt in my legs after Sunday’s 20 mile run. All day long at work they felt heavy and non-responsive. Anyway, no point moaning about it. I was at the track and ready to go.

2 miles of easy running for a warm up (warm up being the expression!) was tough. I was already drenched and sweating profusely. Back at the track I stretched and did some strides to get my legs ready for the onslaught of the mile repeats. I half thought of calling the workout off and either postponing until Wednesday or running at home on the treadmill. Foolishly, perhaps, I chose to stay at the track.

Mainly because of the heat I chose not to look at my splits and decided to watch my heart rate instead. I figured today was not the day to take any chance in the heat. As I set off for the first 1600m it felt like I was running towards a furnace. Luckily there was a slight breeze on the back straight which was a welcome 20 second break from the furnace. Long story short I finished the 4 laps of the track in just under 6:00 minutes. I drank some water, walked 50m and then jogged the rest of the lap to start all over again.

My heart rate had recovered to 130 beats per minute, so I felt I was ok to go again. The feeling didn’t last long though and by the end of the first lap I was struggling with fatigue and battling the hot conditions. I still managed to run a fraction under 6:00 minutes for the 1600m, but it was a real struggle. I drank more water, walked 100m this time and then jogged to the start line for my third and final repeat.

I set off around the first bend, but knew I was fighting a losing battle. After just 200m of the third 1600m I gave up and decided to jog for 10 to 20 minutes instead. The heat was just too intense and I didn’t want to risk anything. To be honest it was all I could do to run 8:00 minute mile pace and I knew I’d made the right decision.

Hopefully the weather will be cooler on Thursday for Key Workout #2 and I’ll be recovered enough to run well.

As a side note, I uploaded my Garmin GPS track to MotionBased later in the evening as I always do. I was really surprised to see even though I’d run 4 laps of the track in about 6:00 minutes, my actual mile splits were much faster (5:35 and 5:38). Maybe the workout wasn’t a total disaster after all!


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