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Quality on the track

Today’s group workout was once again on the track and I got a friendly reminder about quality vs. quantity. (And a friendly reminder that I hate the alarm clock at 5:45 a.m.) While overall mileage is important, a workout like today will go a long way in making me a better overall runner.

Today’s workout was eight 400 meters, with a 200-meter recovery after each lap, except for an 800-meter recovery after the first four 400 meters. It included a warmup with a core workout and several laps around the track. Overall mileage was 5.3 miles.

This workout was designed to help learn pace a little better. To my surprise, the second set of the laps seemed easier, with the last lap being the fastest. Lap times were: 1:46, 1:47, 1:45, 1:41, 1:41, 1:40, 1:37, 1:33. Like I said, this focused on pace, not speed. I felt very comfortable out there and very happy that I’ve learned to not waste energy at the beginning of a workout. Due to vacations, our group was slimmed down today and we were all running within 5 seconds of each other.

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  1. Thomas
    July 19, 2007 at 11:56 am

    Oh yes, the old quality vs. quantity debate. Personally I think it’s bullsh*t, and doing 400s 4 months before a marathon will do exactly 0 for you, but that’s just me. Your times for those were pretty decent though, no need to get defensive about them.

    Btw., 5:45 am is a luxury. A lie-in. A late morning. A sleep-in. Ok, I’ll shut up and go away.

  2. lynchburgrunner
    July 19, 2007 at 1:39 pm

    Without intentionally sounding defensive, I’d have to say I disagree with you. I did some track workouts similar to this back in the winter and I feel they only helped me in doing a half marathon. These workouts have helped me feel stronger, have pushed me when I’m ready to quit and, simply enough, add a great speed workout in the middle of the week. It breaks up the monotony of running on streets or trails every day.

    Also, in my post I didn’t go into it enough, but I wasn’t saying that quality is necessarily better than quantity. In fact, I think quantity is more important, but some days, like that track workout, quality is better and will make me a better runner.

    Thanks for the feedback, though. I need all I can get.

  3. Tom
    July 20, 2007 at 3:46 am

    Rather than debate quantity and quality, I like to focus on outcomes of my training. The run you described is similar to what Dr. Jack Daniels (one of the wisest running coaches and writers recommends in his half and full marathon training programs and there is a very real benefit from blending track speed work with a long, gentle slow run following it. It’s one of my favorite types of runs. Keep up the great work.

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