I use to run the 400 and 800 in college and always focused more on the trackwork and less on the mileage. I think I rarely went above 30 miles a week back in those days. Those were the pre-world wide web days so if I only knew then what I know now. Doh!
One of the results of getting old and putting in more mileage has been a loss of speed, which is a bit disheartening because in my delusional state, I still think I can run fast on the track even with my 41 year old body.
My goal since turning 40 last year was to race some 800s and see if I could get anywhere close to 2:00. Due to an achilles injury last Spring/Summer, I never got to try. After fully recovering, I decided to take a more patient approach and build a base and my strength throughout the fall, winter and spring, which I was mostly succesful at doing.
However, for the past couple of months I was hampered by a mysterious energy zapping ailment that left me unable to get in the proper speedwork for the short summer track season.
So with the local Pacific Association USA Track & Field masters track championships fast approaching next Saturday, I decided to use this morning's workout to assess whether I should try and compete in a 800m race next weekend.
I warmed up with a couple of miles to the local high school and then did some drills and strides. The plan was to run 2 sets of 4x200m at 800/mile pace with a slow 200 jog between repeats and 400m jog between sets.
I tried to keep the 200s fast and relaxed where I would float the turn and then focus on form down the straight. For the most part they felt forced and I seemed to be overstriding. There was no zip in the legs, which makes perfect sense as I haven't attempted any speedwork in almost a month.
I averaged 33.7 for the first set of 4 and then 32.2 for the second. Although I wasn't going all out, it was a hard effort and I'm just not ready to keep up that pace over two laps. If the temps are not in the high 90s by late afternoon/early evening, I might go out again for a short shakeout run to get the lactic acid out of my legs.
based on the workout, I've decided to bag the meet next Saturday and just continue with my normal training. One thing I need to do is re-introduce strides once a week to keep the legs turning over.
I might try and jump in to a all-comers meet later in the summer if I can find one near by, but it won't be a focus. So it looks like my 800 plans are on hold for another year and I'm obviously not getting any younger (or faster). Oh well, I guess I just have to punish myself and try the marathon....