In preparation for the Rock & Roll DC Nation's Capital Half Marathon (whew!) on March 17th, I'm following the Hal Higdon Intermediate Half Marathon training program, albeit modified slightly. Today's run called for speedwork, specifically six 400-meter intervals at 5K pace, which, for me, is 8:22-ish. I don't have a track nearby, so I modified this to six 1/4-mile intervals, with about .15 to .2 mile jogs in between. I found a large, empty parking lot about a mile from my house, and that served as my "track" today.
After my one-mile plus run to the parking lot (which served as my warm-up), I started with a 5K pace run to the other end of the lot, but sped up to about an 8:07 pace, or about 2:02 in elapsed time. Not bad. That's the worst it got. My next 5 intervals were sub-8:00 pace runs, with my best interval 1:50 (about a 7:20 pace). This makes me very pleased! I don't remember running more than one sub-8 minute interval before, much less FIVE!! The parking lot was rolling - not flat, not all downhill, so I believe this was a pretty good barometer of how my fitness level has improved.
Now I know I was going much faster than my 5K PR pace, but that's OK. I wanted to test my boundaries, and find out how fast I could really go. The program calls for 400's every other week, adding one more each go-round, and now I have a baseline to go by.
I very much want to hit a sub-2:00:00 again in March, and even PR the race. I ran the course 2 years ago, in what was called the "National Half Marathon", and struggled at the end, after going out much too fast. I want redemption in 2012.
Running smarter will get me there.