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Friday 11 January 2013

Week 4, Day 4: Mopping the Track... 10 x 400ms

Week 4, Day 4

Goal: 10 x 400m starting every 2 mins 30

Actual: 10 x 400m starting every 2 mins 30

Was this the impossible session?

It was a session I’d been dreading. I’d psyched myself up for it on Tuesday … and then the track was closed so the dread had been growing bigger and bigger in my mind throughout the week. A 6 – 6.22 min/mile pace sounded very quick and it was speed I’d never attempted before. And a speed I didn’t think I could achieve without falling off a cliff.

In the absence of survivable, exactly 400m cliffs, I went along to my local track to get going. I did a 1.8 mile loop around town to warm up. It was a cold, dark evening and as I ran I talked myself into the session.

“It’s between 6 and 6.22 minute mile. If I aim for the slower end then it’s only .25 seconds a mile slower than my entire 5k on Saturday.” My brain would occasionally interrupt with things like “It was a new PB … what if it was a fluke?” or “What if your legs just don’t GO that speed?” I ignored my brain. Either I could or I couldn’t. I would TRY. And if I ended up throwing up on the track or fainting or something equally embarrassing I’m sure someone would do something. Throw a trainer or hand me a mop. Or something.

Deep breath. The track was very busy tonight so there might be a fair amount of dodging involved as there were a lot of sessions going on. I chose a far corner of the track as my starting line and went.

I’d decided not to use any complicated settings on the Garmin but just to keep it running and press lap at the start and end of every lap and use the timer as the reminder to go. My brain stops working when I run and I thought there was less chance of ‘Porridge Brain’ confusing things if the settings were simple. It did mean that the Garmin didn’t give me an accurate pace reading until I was almost 150 metres around the track but once I’d done the first few laps I had more of an idea of the pace I was aiming for.

The pace was fine. And just as importantly the distances were small so as soon as my brain twigged the speed I was running, it was time to stop.

There were 3 laps just over the pace specified by Marathon Coach Steve, but most of the laps were fairly evenly paced which I was very pleased with considering it wasn’t a pace I’d tried before. Best of all, I completed the session … at the right pace … and I didn’t throw up, faint OR have to fall off a cliff to do it. Win. 

Mile splits:












  1. nice work, love track sessions, hard but very rewarding and a great break from distance on the road :)

  2. Thanks Paul! It was a bit of a shock to my legs to be treated to track work ... there was a definite ache first thing this morning!!