Running faster requires determination, commitment and, for me, at least one training partner to drag me along. While I know plenty of people are able to do long runs and tempos solo, I rarely meet a speedster who can consistently get hard work done on the track by themselves. I am no exception.
Over the past year, I’ve put in about 50–70% effort on most of the track workouts I’ve completed. That was good enough, especially since I coach while I run these workouts and I’m not 100% focused on myself. I forgot how to get serious on the track. My lethargy was recently shaken awake when I joined the Monday Track Workout with Seattle Green Lake Running Group.
At 5:30am on Mondays, a smallish group of runners is awake and ready to run hard intervals on a dirt track in Green Lake. (They used to meet at Roosevelt HS, but because of current construction they’ve had to move the location).
I ran with some speedy folks that kept me going through a ladder workout (400–800–1200–1600–1200–800–400) with a 400m recovery jog between each interval. The precise recovery time is something I’ve missed in recent years, and was definitely more difficult than I remember it! I started this workout leading the pack, but, after the 1600 my legs were giving up on me. Thankfully two other women were there to keep me motivated.
Memories of my college days, chasing my teammates to hold on to a workout, came rushing back. Being in that mind-space felt like a breakthrough. I can still run hard, my body can still push and not breakdown. My last 400m interval ended up being faster than my first. My focus was on staying close to the leader and not focusing on how much my legs were burning. Without this other runner, I would have coasted; without the group, I would have called it quits after the 1600.
This is why I find it is crucial to do track workouts with others. Giving up is rarely an option (injury and serious fatigue aside) because your track run buds want you to succeed and complete the workout with them. Running is such a mental sport. When you hear someone coming from behind, or you have someone to chase in front of you, your focus narrows. You have something other than your own pain and hard breathing to focus on. You get to use that and help it make you stronger. If you want to get faster, you need to find your people. Do the hard stuff together and reap the rewards.