Indoor marathon training Week 4: a new workout

I tried a new pacing workout this week that I read about in the newspaper, of all places. This marathoner in a Washington Post wire piece described a timed run workout in which he runs 9 minutes hard, 1 minute easy, then 8 minutes hard, 1 minute easy, all the way down to 1 minute. The first three “hard” runs are at marathon pace, the next three are at half marathon pace, and the last there are what he calls a “sprint.”


I’ve watched this movie a ridiculous amount of times in the past 25 years.

Not really knowing what my marathon pace should be but hoping to someday aspire to a 10-minutes-per-mile pace at that distance, I popped in “Terminator 2” and set the treadmill to 6 mph for the first 9-minute run.

For the first three segments I took 4 mph (15 minute pace) walk breaks during the 1 “easy” minute. For the next three segments (6 minutes, 5, then 4) I bumped the pace up to 6.5 mph (9:14 pace), but gave myself 2 minutes to recover between each. (Every time I try something new, I try to be generous in negotiating with myself, because I don’t want to make it so hard that I resist doing it again in the future.)

For the last three segments (3 minutes, then 2, then 1) I dialed up the speed but not too much, again being pretty conservative at 6.7 mph (9-minute mile pace). On this last part I gave myself walk breaks equivalent to the run segment.

I was dripping with sweat by this point, and pleased to see that 6 miles had gone by. I did a 1-mile cooldown at 5 mph (12-minute mile pace) and called it a day, even though the fate of the world was still very much uncertain in the movie.

Setting the bar fairly low the first time through this workout made me eager to try it again to begin tinkering with bumping up the speed here, cutting down a recovery break there. I’m actually looking forward to trying it again this week.

Here’s how the rest of the week went:

Monday — yoga class

Tuesday — Timed run workout as described above (7 miles)

Wednesday — Untimed 7 mile run at comfortable pace on the basic neighborhood route past the Murray Cemetery to the Norwell School Road and back. Encountered a new dog who came out and barked at me very ferociously from about 2 feet away but did not try to bite. This is not a cool development. But I really like this route otherwise, so I will probably try to work on making friends with this dog.

Thursday — Home yoga session + 3 sets of 10 kettlebell swings

Friday — 16 miles (128 laps) at the Jorgensen YMCA. Tried a 4 laps run/1 lap walk pattern, which basically translated to walking 200 meters every half mile. Still felt decent by the end, which makes me wonder if I’m not going fast enough on the run segments. (The stopwatch on my phone apparently turned off at some point, but I think it took me about 3 hours and 15 minutes.) The good news is, I feel much more confident about completing the distance using this run/walk format. But lately I don’t feel like I’m getting the time boost I was hoping for. Going to need to tinker with the pacing.

Saturday —  3 mile easy recovery run on treadmill watching “Dr. Who.”

+ 3 sets of 10 kettlebell swings

Sunday — Half-mile jog with Loki + 6 miles on fitness bike

Total: 33.5 miles

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