Track Tuesday - if you type it in to your favourite search engine I will guarantee that it will return a number of athletics clubs all mentioning training on a Tuesday at a local athletics track. Edinburgh AC is no different. On a Tuesday I head to Saughton track for a 5:45pm start with a group of like minded individuals and get put through our paces, literally, by our club coach.
Come rain, wind or shine (or all and more!), we are there putting in the reps which we hope will help us hit our potential for our main races throughout the year.
Tonight's session was the usual mile warm up, more if you get there a bit earlier, then the session started with 10 minutes at tempo pace. For me that's around the 6 minutes per mile mark. We then did 2 reps of 200 metres to get our legs used to moving a bit faster and then the tough stuff started. 8 reps of 800 metres with about 2 minutes recovery. I hit the first 800 in 2:40 which I was pleased with considering that's the pace I ran last week, but last week we only did 5 reps of 800m.
After the first 2 reps I found myself running in a small group of similar paced people, which is rare for me. I'm usually chasing a group ahead of me or sitting just ahead of the group behind, it made a nice change and on the 3rd rep it was suggested that we take it turns to take the lead on each rep. I like it when this happens because it's almost guaranteed to give you an extra gear to your running, tonight was no different. I took rep 6 and during rep 5 I felt like I was getting to the end of what I could do but being the leader I knocked out two 80 second laps and felt really comfortable doing it. I guess it's the pressure of not wanting to let the others down, there is a general agreement that no matter what the pace of the leader is, you stick with it if you feel it's too slow and you try and hold on to them if you feel it's too fast.
The next rep was taken by someone who commented that they felt the first lap might be slower but none of us minded as they had been finishing with us on each rep. We prepared ourselves for a faster second 400 than the first.
Coach gave us the 3,2,1 countdown and we were off.
We sure were! I was hoping, I mean, really hoping that when we came around for the first 400m that we weren't told that we ran a 85 second or something similar because I was dying! I couldn't keep up with the leader and I was hanging on at the back. The first 400 metres was coming to an end, I crossed the line in 78 seconds and relief hit me. You would think that 2 seconds faster over 400 metres wouldn't be much more effort but it was! Our leader was flying! I think they went through in 76 or 77 seconds.
The final 2 reps we took a lap each since there were 4 of us and it really helped having the team working together to nail the reps. I found that extra gear on my 400 lead and then held on the back for the final 400 of the night to finish again in 2:40.
We then finished with a final set of 2 x 200 metre reps and that was us for another Tuesday evening.
You could head to a track on your own and try and replicate a session but honestly, I don't think you would work as hard as you do when you are running as a team. There is nowhere to hide!
If you are looking to take your running to the next level, I highly recommend you contact your local running club. Even if you can only make one session a week, do it, you'll see massive improvements and smash your next race.