Treadmill ‘sprints’ produce a PR — and a muscle pull

Did an impromptu attempt at a 200-meter PR cost me a shot at the 5K I’ve been training for the past eight weeks?

At the time, cranking the treadmill all the way up to its maximum of 12 mph for an automatic 38-second .125 mile burst (that’s actually 220 yards) seemed like a smart move. During our previous session of 200-meter intervals, done on a gravel road two weeks ago, I’d been devastated when my sister blew me away with a 43-second best. Up til then, the best either of us had managed was 46 seconds.

Then last week, amid all the flooding and high heat/humidity, we’d tried doing our 400s on the treadmill — and discovered we could program in a PR every time if we just set up the right mph and then held on for dear life. So naturally we couldn’t wait to try the same thing on our final 200s workout before Sunday’s Waterfall 5K trail race.

For the first two attempts, it seemed like a brilliant strategy. Ten mph yielded a 45-second 220. That was a PR for me, and it wasn’t even that hard.

Eleven mph produced a :41. That beat my sister’s previous best by TWO WHOLE SECONDS. Trouble was, she was going first. So she’d not only been the first to set the new mark, but she was ready to aim even higher on interval No. 3.

Traci got through 38 seconds at 12 mph, but warned me that at one point – for just a couple of seconds – she almost lost her footing.

Naturally I had to try it. The weird thing about running “sprints” on a treadmill is that you start out pretty slow for the first few seconds as the machine gets up to speed. Then you’ve got to be ready to match the machine’s acceleration.

I thought I had it. The clock was at 30 seconds – just 8 more seconds to go. But I wobbled for a just a second, my gait got a bit offkilter, and just that fast I felt an alarming twinge in my hamstring.

My workout was over. Is my race as well?

I’ll probably find out on Friday, when I go out for an easy 3-mile jog to see how my leg does. Last time I pulled a hamstring – just about a year ago – I couldn’t’ leave it alone and kept testing it to see how it was doing, which never gave me a chance to recover until later when I finally took a few weeks off.

I didn’t even try to run on Wednesday, going for a swim instead. The leg seemed to feel a little better just walking around, so we’ll see.

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9 Responses to Treadmill ‘sprints’ produce a PR — and a muscle pull

  1. bgddyjim says:

    Oh crap. That’s a huge bummer.

    • tischcaylor says:

      Yes, it is. I’ve been trying to take it easy the last couple of days and see if maybe it’s just a strain. I really want to run that race! But I also don’t want to be out of action for several weeks, so I’m not going to be stupid, either. (I hope.!)

  2. That sucks… Do you think you’re strong enough to rest it on Friday and maybe only go on your following session after that? You may have healed a little until then.

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