Six weeks ago I added one of my favorite elements of training that gets me in a ‘5k groove’ pace and makes longer races feel relatively slow. On the track I do repeat 800 meters, but since I’ve been doing this stamina training session on the treadmill lately I do repeat half miles.
For my first attempt at the repeat half miles I did three of them and started out on the first at 10.0 which gave me a 3:00 half mile. The next two I picked up slightly to 10.1 and 10.2 mph which resulted in a 2:58 and 2:57. Two weeks later I added a fourth repeat and two weeks after that I added another. I just picked up the pace slightly on the treadmill on each one to 10.3 and 10.4 mph and so on. In between I ran easy at 6.6 to 6.8 mph which ended up being around 8:45 mile pace.
I started out at 3:00 on the first two today and then ran 2:58. I had a stack of seven towels piled on the treadmill – one for each fast half mile and one to wipe down the machine afterward. On the next one I ran 2:55 and I was breathing hard and expending more effort the last minute or so. The fifth half mile was strong at 2:53, but I was using my ‘race effort’ breathing during the final 30 seconds and had a slight side stitch.
On the last one I had to switch to my ‘race breathing’ where I breathe in or out in tandem with each stride with a quarter mile to go. But I was feeling strong. The side stitch didn’t reappear which was a nice sign of my fitness level. I finished in 2:51 and my shirt was soaked. I was very pleased with the set of six repeat half miles and will hope to add one every two weeks until I am running ten repeat half miles in mid-July.
In case you think that this was the end of my exercising – think again! I toweled off, put on a dry shirt, drank a bunch of water and did about 45 minutes of upper body, core and leg weights along with dumbell exercises, my core ball routine, exercises with bands, planking and a set of ten running drills. Shhhh… don’t tell anyone I’m 55 years old…