Track Workouts Hurt

On Tuesday night I headed up to the Armory for my second indoor track workout this season. I feel like my first workout was a bit deceiving – it was hard and I felt sore afterward, but Tuesday was really a rude awakening for my body. Save for those few times when the weather is perfect and the miles feel easy, running is an effort. And I think all of us have experience some sort of discomfort – whether it be because we’re out of shape or because we’re racing. But then there’s another level of pain, one that I haven’t experienced in a long time, and it comes in the form of track intervals. It’s tough for me to explain how this workout felt without seeming like a whiner, so let me just say…I know I do this voluntarily. I think in the end the rewards are worth it, but damn, it still hurts. A lot.

By the end of the first 800m repeat, my throat and lungs were burning from the dry, indoor air. My calves were screaming from the fast pace (3k pace was kind of a shock for this long distance girl!), and I felt like I needed an emergency bathroom visit ASAP. Fun times, yes? I finished the workout in one piece, but pretty much decided that I will not be doing any indoor track races. I still have my eye on an outdoor 5k or 10k though! And I’ll keep coming back to workouts becaue even though it’s hard, it costs $15, and I don’t eat dinner till 9pm – I know these workouts will make me faster in the long term.

The workout:

2 mile warm-up

3 sets of 2 × 800m with 2 minutes jog rest between intervals within the set and 4 minutes jog rest between sets. Run at approximately 3k pace, getting faster with each set.

1st set: 3:05, 3:03
2nd set: 3:01, 3:00
3rd set: 2:55, 2:57

2 mile cool-down

Obviously, I would have liked to finish that last 800m faster than the previous one, but that just wasn’t in the cards. The track was really crowded (one of my teammates counted 76 people!), so that definitely added a second or two per repeat, but that’s how it goes. As Jay-Z says, On to the Next One!

Lately, I’ve really been enjoying the nightly ritual of pouring a glass of wine (or two) and cooking for myself. Julia Child’s beef bourguignon has always intrigued me, but I don’t really like handling raw meat, so I sought out a vegetarian version. My go-to cooking blog, Smitten Kitchen, has a great recipe that I more or less followed exactly.

You can find the original recipe for SK’s Mushroom Bourguignon here.

My alterations included:

  • I omitted the thyme (because I forgot to buy it)
  • I used a mix of frozen peas/pearl onions because that’s all the grocery store was selling.
  • Instead of egg noodles, I used up some short tube pasta that was in my pantry (I received not one, but THREE Italian themed gift baskets for Christmas. That’s a lot of pasta).

I like this dish for so many reasons – it’s fairly inexpensive, full of veggies/fiber, and warm & comforting!

What’s the most painful run/workout/race you can recall? Let it all out.

Finally, the winner of the CSN gift certificate contest is…

Comment from Lauren
The best thing I bought online was my bed from Sears. Upon moving to NYC four years ago, I had barely enough money for food, let alone furniture. I slept on an air mattress for close to a year, so saving up enough to buy a bed from felt like I had really “made it” in the big city!
Lauren – email me at runnerskitchen [at] gmail [dot] com and I’ll give you the prize details. Congrats!
  • Track workouts always hurt! It’s my least favorite. I know this sounds crazy but I’d rather do a long run (even a 20-miler) instead of a track workout. My endurance is so much better than my speed. I’m trying to make myself a little more balanced but it’s hard!

  • I’ve made that Julia Child’s recipe before. it makes a ton of food and tastes great!!

  • track workouts hurt sooooo good. i’m itching to get my track workout in…hopefully this weekend with the snow. we have an armory in providence but it’s not open to the public. boo.

  • Gemma

    Yum! I love that Mushroom Bourguignon recipe. My partner and I make it all the time! If you have bought a bottle of red especially for it you can always freeze the remains so you have some on hand for next time! Have never done a track workout in my running history but given that we have an event on called the super 7s (7K each Tuesday night for 7 weeks) it would probably be of huge benefit for this shorter distance!

  • The hardest workout I’ve ever done in any sport is 4x1500m at 2000m pace on the rowing machine for crew. Dreadful.

    You killed this workout — speedy numbers — I am impressed!

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  • good for you for sticking it out on the indoor track, and NOT racing ’cause you don’t wanna! i like your running decisions. and food choices, too. and that you drink wine on a near-daily basis. welcome to my world 🙂

  • They all hurt. And it’s a different kind of hurt depending on what silly thing you’re asking yourself to do. Although the recent 3K was pretty horrific and sticks out as something that I don’t care to repeat, as is the Brooklyn Half. You looked AWESOME Tuesday, though!!

    I’ve wanted to make [not beef] bourguignon for some time, but always wimp out when I see that it will take me more than 15 minutes.

  • Yum! So with you on handling raw meat– ick. I heart Trader Joe’s for all of it’s “fully cooked” frozen offerings (grilled chicken, turkey meatballs, etc.). 🙂

  • mmm I love mushrooms. that looks lovely. I haven’t had a painful race in a while, because I’m too wussy and scared of getting to that painful place. Something i need to change once this stupid, effing Achilles heals. grrr.

  • So motivating to read this post! Awesome job with the track workout. You obviously pushed yourself! I would love to do one of those once in a while, especially with a team. What’s your next race??

  • J

    Awesome workout! I totally want to run that! Indoor tracks are tough, especially because they are so much turning but you did awesome!

  • Nice progression through your workout. The Armory is a special place to run 🙂 I got to do a meet there a couple years ago. Wish I could go back!

  • Congrats on the awesome workout!! Those pictures look great, need to try this 🙂

  • Ooh, I love this. I can still feel like Julia Child without the beef!

  • Even though I’ve run for 10 years, I don’t think I can handpick one “worst” workout…maybe I’ve tried to block them out of my memory 😉

    And wow, I’m not a huge mushroom fanatic but that pasta looks awesome!

  • Can I just say you are my workout hero?! If I’d felt that bad after the first set, I probably would have mailed it in! I’ve had a couple of really rough interval workouts, but I think my most perilous one was a 4M race in Central Park. I ran so hard at the end that I just kept on sprinting right to the port-o-johns. Yup, I said it. Now it’s out there….

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  • I need friends like yours that give Italian themed gift baskets! I mean, obviously I run in the wrong circles.

  • You are such a bad ass! I can barely get myself to do a tempo run. You inspire me 🙂

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  • Amy O.

    Hey there! Always read your blog, never comment. But had to drop you a line and say that I made the Mushroom Bourguignon. We are iced in here in Indianapolis and it was the best comfort food on a cold, icey night. My husband turned to me and said, “I don’t like it…I love it!” Thanks for the great dish!! Keep ’em coming…and keep up the great job on your runs. Only wish I could run that fast!

  • @Amy O. – I’m so glad that you and your husband liked the recipe 🙂