Bellingham Bay Marathon Training: Week 2 – My First Time At The Track

Last week’s marathon training brought two new workouts I’ve never done before: a track workout on an actual track and a progression run.

Before I get into the details, can I just say how excited I am about this particular race? The more I read about it, the more I love it. They just put up a page on their site that links to different blog coverage the race has gotten over the years and it’s been pretty addicting for me. From waiting INDOORS before the race to the gorgeous scenic point-to-point course, I just can’t wait to run this one!

And that excitement makes training even better – especially training as tough as this! Coach Abby (who is having a baby TOMORROW) is giving me a run for my money:

Week 2: May 26 – June 1

  • Monday – 2 mi warm up, 1 x 1 mi, 2 x 800, 4 x 400, 2 x 200 (AR), 1 mi cool down
  • Tuesday – Plyos + Hip Exercises
  • Wednesday – 5 mile progression run
  • Thursday – Refine
  • Friday – OFF
  • Saturday – 10 mi
  • Sunday – OFF

Total (running) miles: 21.89

Summary of Week 2 running:

THE TRACK! I went to the track for the first time in my life. It was Memorial Day and I knew the roads would be empty, so I figured I’d take advantage of that and drive to the beautiful waterfront turf track in Weehawken since that workout seemed really difficult to plan out timing wise in the park. Plus, I’d never done a track workout on an actual track, and it seemed like the perfect opportunity to be badass.

The workout was: 2  mi warm up, 1 x 1 mi, 2 x 800, 4 x 400, 2 x 200 (AR), 1 mi cool down. This terrified me. I’d also never had a workout that combined different length intervals, plus it was so long! I have a set of goal paces Abby gave me, but as soon as I arrived at the track I knew it would be tough.

The sun was beating down hard, it was already 80 degrees and there was no shade in sight. I brought a handheld water bottle (now I know I can bring a bigger bottle if I ever go back to the track, since I just kept it on the bleacher and came back to it when I needed it) and when my water ran out, I found out the water fountain was not working. So, that sucked. And really, it just was not my day.

If you have to do a track workout, might as well do it with a view

If you have to do a track workout, might as well do it with a view

The 2 mile warm up was fine, but before I even had one full loop around the track I knew this 1×1 mile was not going my way. I could not go any faster than I was, but it wasn’t even close to my goal pace. In fact, it wasn’t even close to the pace I run 5K races in. As the mile progressed I felt worse and worse, and by the last quarter my neck pain kicked in. I finished the mile feeling defeated, but hopeful that the shorter intervals would be better.

And I used my AR (active recovery) time to stretch my neck, which luckily did not give me any more problems. But the two 800s weren’t great either. Really, none of it felt OK. I kept feeling cramps around my ribcage or on the side of my stomach. Breathing was hard. I was nauseous. After one particularly tough interval I had to sit down on the bleachers. I couldn’t get enough water, so I was probably dehydrated. My water was hot from sitting out in the sun. The water fountain wasn’t working. There was no break from the shade.

I don’t even mean to make excuses or sound so whiny. What it really came down to, was that it wasn’t my day. I sent Coach Abby an email with the subject ‘Frustrating’ where I didn’t even give her the excuses. I just listed my paces and told her I could not have pushed any harder, and I am not nearly as fast as I’d like to be. Her email back made me feel a LOT better. She said quite a few things, but the one that stuck with me most was this:

“It’s supposed to be hard. These are goal times that you may not hit every workout. You are where you are that day. They key is to push to your limit THAT DAY, no matter what the click says. If you do that, then you’ve done all you can do.”

And I definitely could not have done more. I need to factor in the heat into my times as well. It’s just hard. I mean, the fastest official recorded mile I’ve ever run was 6:53 during a 5K race (and not even my PR race!), so I should be able to run 7:05-7:10 on a track. But not every day will be my day, some days will be very hot with no shade and it might also be that I do better in a straight line than on a track. There will be many more opportunities before September 28 to figure this out! For those interested, here are my (frustrating to me) splits from that run:

1 mi – 7:52

800 – 3:52
800 – 3:55

400 – 1:51
400 – 1:53
400 – 1:54
400 – 1:53

200 – :57
200 – :52

FIRST EVER PROGRESSION RUN: And speaking of what I am capable of running, the next first I had was my first progression run! For those who never did this, a progression run means each mile is faster than the one before it. For this 5 mile run, Abby wanted my splits to be 10:00, 9:30, 9:00, 8:30 and 8:00.

During my first mile, I kept it nice and easy. But my watch was going a little nuts, showing paces that were insane, so I didn’t know exactly where I was. When I finished the first mile in 9:10, I was like ‘Fuck.’

I ruined the entire progression AND I made it much harder for myself – because now I had to be even faster than planned. And I was already concerned about the last couple of miles before I went ahead and ruined it.

Here’s how I did:

1 – 9:10
2 – 8:52
3 – 9:00
4 – 8:39
5 – 7:53

Mile 3 felt MUCH harder than Mile 1 (I actually wonder if my watch was just totally messed up for mile 1 and I did run it slower…), but I’m pretty proud of the last two miles. I might not have nailed my progression run, but it was my first time and it wasn’t a total bust.

And mile 5 just goes to show I had more in me for 1×1 mile at the track on a better day!

And lastly, I had my first double digit run of the cycle. It was a beautiful morning an I ran with my friend Miranda. The first 5 miles were awesome, then on the way back we were hit with the strongest headwind I have EVER run through. It was miserable. But I finished my 10 feeling strong!

Do you let challenging runs get you down?

Note: I am also running the NYC Marathon for the American Cancer Society’s Team DetermiNation in memory of my Aunt Dale, who died almost two years ago from kidney cancer. I will wear her name on my team shirt as I run 26.2 miles through the boroughs of my home city. I appreciate ANY donation at any amount to help me reach my goal. Thank you! 


Me, my grandma and my Aunt Dale

5 comments on Bellingham Bay Marathon Training: Week 2 – My First Time At The Track

  1. Gianna @ Run, Lift, Repeat
    June 2, 2014 at 11:39 am (4 years ago)

    Reading your training recaps are making me more excited to get started with mine! one more week before I am “officially” in marathon training. I think your coaches feedback is perfect – if you know you gave it your all at that time then you just have to move on. Day to day our bodies can respond so differently to a workout.
    But aren’t new to me workouts fun? I remember my first track workout with my coach last year 16 x 400 after a 4 mile warm up. All I can say is I wanted to curse life the majority of it – I still am awful at pacing on a track for intervals.
    Gianna @ Run, Lift, Repeat´s last blog post ..Recap: Advocare 24 Day Challenge

  2. Marie
    June 2, 2014 at 12:09 pm (4 years ago)

    Hi, Dory! I’m also training for a marathon on September 28th (Montreal Rock ‘n’ Roll) so I love reading these recaps! I also live in Hoboken and ran by the Weehawken track on Saturday– the water fountain by the track is still out, but the one by the bathrooms around the corner is (thankfully!) working! :)

  3. Kara
    June 6, 2014 at 6:07 pm (4 years ago)

    That view from that Weehawken track is AMAZING. I used to go there a lot when I lived in Hoboken. I will meet you there any time, if you ever want a buddy!

    I did almost that same workout and I can’t imagine doing it in that kind of heat. Plus having a mile as as the first interval would be so tough. You did so great – don’t beat yourself up! I know how frustrating it is to not be happy about a workout, but you said it yourself…you could not have done more that day. It’s incredible that you left it all out there on the track and pushed as hard as you could. Great job, Dori!
    Kara´s last blog post ..Wineglass Marathon Training: Week 1


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