Posted by: Joe English | February 10, 2010

Workouts — An early season pace and fitness gauge

Coach Joe English

Coach Joe English

Last week in my Workouts Column I wrote about strength building drills. This week, I’d like to move to a different topic, which is a workout to find and gauge your fitness early in the season as we are now. If you’re just coming back from an off-season break and you want a workout to tell you where you are after that break, try this workout.

Workout: The One Mile Fitness Gauge

Workout Summary: Coming back from an off-season break can introduce a great deal of uncertainty into the minds of runners. How much fitness did I lose? Did I retain any of the speed that I had last season? Where should I start? Am I starting over? A lot of the answers to these questions are determined by the length of the off-season break and what the runner did on that break. If there was a total break and you spent a few weeks (or months) sitting on the couch, then you may have some work to do as the season begins. But all is not lost. You likely haven’t lost all of your speed from the previous season. What you probably have lost is some of your fitness, which translates into the distance that you can maintain your speed. So coming back from a break, you are likely able to push fast for a few miles and then you’ll feel yourself getting fatigued. This is normal and your fitness will come back in a few weeks.

But in the mean-time, when you hit the track for those first few workouts, you might be in need of a workout that gives you a feeling of some security around where you are going to go over the course of the season. I have one for you here. This workout uses one mile intervals that are done at a relaxed pace that should still feel good even this early in the season. At the end of the mile, you’ll push the pace hard. The result will be a one mile interval done at about your tempo pace — or a bit faster than your marathon race pace. And this will be a good indication of where your fitness should be after you’ve rebuilt your base over the next few weeks or months.

To continue reading about this workout, click here.


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