Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Worst Workout Ever

I went into my Tuesday workout with high hopes.  As I've talked about before, there are two groups for Tuesday Track - a faster one that caters to the more serious runners, and a slower run, for everyone else.  I realize that that sounds harsh, but it is reality.  I run with the fast group, which is much more structured as well. 

Today my group was doing a hard ladder, while the other group was dong hills.  I signed up for a half marathon on Labor Day, where my brother is pacing me, and it is super hilly.  I need to get in a lot of hill work, so I decided to run with the slower, less structured group today. 

It was a lot different, and even though I was doing the workout with other people, I felt like I was doing it by myself.  Let me explain.  In my typical group, we do the warm-up and then another two laps to get our legs loosened up - together.  Our coach brings a clock and sets it on a table so we are able to see our spits.  Before we begin, he tells us what our recovery time or pace should be.  Lately, we have been splitting in half - a super fast group (all guys) and then a slower fast group (all the girls plus a few guys).  Our coach encourages us to work together, and it works.  I've had some phenomenal workouts that I didn't think I was capable of doing because of this. 

The slower group does things much, much different.  The workout was 8 long hills.  After the warm-up, people  just jogged over to the hill and started going up them.  There was no instruction given, although the coach was there, standing at the bottom of the hill.  He said "good job" a few times as I came down the hill on my recovery part of the run, but didn't encourage us to work together up the hill (0.23m/+55 ft. elevation gain). 

When I look at the stats for the hill (0.23mi/+55 ft), I don't think it should have been as tough as it was for me.  I ran slowwwwwwwwwww.  Much, much slower than normal.  My average pace was 8:38/mile for my 12 repeats.  I realize that I didn't just time the up hill laps, so it is an average, but still.  It is not exactly a confidence booster going into my hilly 8k race on Saturday and half marathon in a little over a month. 

So...what went wrong? 
  • I was not running with anyone.
  • I did more hills than everyone else.  Most people stopped at 8, one other guy that runs with me on Sundays stopped at 10, and then I did 2 more on my own when everyone else went to cool down.
  • I need to attack the hill and visualize going up them faster.  Love the hills, don't hate the hills.
  • There was no clock.  I'm a big believer in doing things according to time.  I only had my Garmin to rely on, which is good, but it is nice to see a bigger clock when I cross a line.
  • This was my first hill workout ever. 
  • My legs were still tired from my 15 mile run on Sunday.
Now that I feel like I adequately complained enough about the workout, there were some positives:
  • I got to run with other people that I don't know.  It is always nice to see different people.
  • I was the fastest person in the group. 
  • The people in this group are really encouraging.  The people in my normal group are encouraging, but these people are just not as serious.  I was told "nice job" by some of my friends in the group as well as some of the other people that I don't even know.
  • One of my friends did his hill workout a little earlier, and had finished his cool down when I stopped to take a drink after hill #5.  I was was over 90 degrees today.  He had a full water bottle and squirted me multiple times with it, which felt so good.  He's a pretty funny guy, so talking to him after 5 hills was a good break for me.  We also debated the best way to mark your Gatorade cup so no one else uses it.  He thinks the teeth method is good, based on college parties.  I personally like to just flip it over and put it next to my keys.  I did end up making a nice teeth pattern in the cup for him. 
The good thing about today is that although it was my worst workout ever, I still have 4 weeks to conquer the hills in my half.  It was a good learning experience.

Have you ever had a terrible workout?  How did you gain your confidence back after it? 

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