4:30 or Bust: A Quest for Marathon Mediocrity

East River Park speed workout

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I’m a firm believer that speed workouts is a great way to get faster.  The only problem is, I hate them!  I have a hard time doing them on my own, which is why at least for one session a year, I’ll take the 10 week NYRR running class.  Since the next session doesn’t start till January, and I’m right now in training for the Austin Marathon and wanting to get some speed workouts in, I gotta do it on my own.

It is a little challenging to get it in at this time of year.  My preference is to go to the track at East River Park.  Since the track is not lit at night, and the park can be a little spooky at night, it is only a good option in the daytime.  Since it gets light late and dark early, I can only really get to the track on the weekends.  And, the weekends is when I want to run long, or am busy or away, so don’t really have room for a speed workout.  Needless to say, getting the speed workout in is a challenge.

We were let out of work at 3pm today, so I had a great opportunity to get to the track before it got too dark, and I took advantage!  Construction in the park is currently problematic.  I recently passed by on the FDR Drive and noticed that the northern most part of the park appeared totally closed for construction.  With that in mind, I headed over the 10th St bridge instead.  The construction caused quite a meandering route.  At the end of the bridge, you must run through a playground to get to the newly built promenade area.  Then, at the dead end part of the promenade (the rest is still under construction) you need to run across a baseball field to get back to the main road, and then over to the track.

With that out of the way, I got down to business.  Started with a 1 mile interval.  I pushed hard, but didn’t go all out.  For some reason, it felt slow, and it was a bit windy, so I was very concerned that my time would not be so great.  At the end, surprise of all surprises, i finished in 7:21, much, much better than I expected.  Took a few minutes of a break and then did a 2nd mile repeat, finishing this time in 7:35, not as fast, but very respectable.  I followed that up with 2 half mile intervals, finishing each in 3:35, or 7:10 pace.  I could not have been more pleased with the result.

The track was not very crowded, about 10 other total people on the track over the 40 minutes I was there.  Most interesting site was a pair of people who did at least part of their run backwards!  It was a very odd sensation, catching up to people who looked to be running at you, but were really running in your direction.  I ultimately passed them by.

On the way back, I decided to take the promenade all the way up to the north end of the park to see if the connector to 20st St was open, and it was!  So I was able to head back up the way I normally run, rather than going over the 10th st bridge and up Ave C.

Happy to take advantage of the daylight hours to get in the speed workout.  Need to figure out how to get some more of these in over the next few weeks.  Sunday, I plan to run long, about 15.5 miles, along the same route I ran in August when training for the New York City Marathon.  That route will take me down the East Side, up the West Side to about 79th St, then down Central Park’s West Drive, and then through midtown back to 14th and 1st Ave.  First 8-9 miles is totally flat, so looking forward to this, the easiest of the long runs.

We’ll be heading out to South Central PA tomorrow morning to spend the holiday with some family, and then we plan to sightsee in Philadelphia on Friday, head to my NJ house Friday night, and back to NYC on Saturday.

Happy Turkey Day to all!


Written by SCL

November 26, 2008 at 9:13 pm

One Response

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  1. I love this track, but I agree–it’s a bummer about the lack of lights and the current construction. It’s where we did all the speed workouts with the Nike Pacers group — you should join us when we start back up again in the Spring. We leave out of Paragon Sports.

    Hope you had great holidays, I spent them at our house in the Poconos. (I-80, baby!)


    November 30, 2008 at 6:41 pm

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