Thanksgiving Pie Training

So I’m finally back on another training cycle with a pretty big goal in site. No, it’s not another ultra.

I’ve decided to focus on something a little shorter – the Fort Collins Thanksgiving 4 Mile. They offer some prize money for the top finishers so it draws a fairly competitive crowd with about 4,000 participants. I won’t be anywhere near fast enough to win any money but I have my sights set on winning an age group pie which go to the top 3 finishers in each age group.

Last year I finished 5th in my age group and if I can shave a couple minutes off my time, I think I have a shot at it this year.

Unfortunately, this guy is in my age group:

So there goes at least one pie.

Based on last year’s results I’ll need to knock about 2 minutes and 13 seconds off my 24:38 time to get within pie range.

I rarely put much focus into any formal speed work but while I’m running a relatively light volume of trail miles this fall, I figured this would be a good time to try to sharpen up. In the past I’ve done a little of this and a little of that every now and then on the track. I usually get bored with too many intervals and jump around between 400’s, 800’s, and mile repeats. This time around I’ve decided to just stick with 400’s. Mostly because I suck at them. Last year I came to the realization that my average pace for everything from 400 to half marathon was almost the same. My cardio fitness and endurance is always pretty good but I just never had the patience to focus on anything short to develop a little more leg speed.

So the goal for the next month is to stick with the 400’s until I’m satisfied that I’ve been able to run them well. …which of course might involve running at least one full Quenton Cassidy interval workout. Or since Festivus is right around the corner, I might even consider seeing if I can survive a full Emil Zataopek workout of 90 400’s (I’m sure I’ll be considerably slower ….probably a full day).

So far I’ve managed to get to the track 4 weeks in a row to run 10, 12, and 16 solid sets the first 3 weeks. Today I just didn’t have the mental focus to run a full set and decided to call it quits early. I may actually need to rest up and put as much focus into these as I usually put into my long weekend runs for a change.

My split times are a bit slow for my 4 mile goal time – at least according to McMillan’s pacing calculator. But I’ve run plenty of fast races on a lot of slow training before. So it’ll be interesting to see how this latest training experiment turns out.

At the very least, it’ll be a fun race. This was the first race that I entered when I first started running here in Ft Collins. Even if I don’t win a pie, it’s fun to look back at where I started with a 35:29 finish in 2006.

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