My Urban Intervals

by - Tuesday, March 10, 2015

My first workout of my Frederick half training cycle was mile repeats. Oof. Repeats in general are no joke, but mile repeats are just kind of torture. Welcome to half marathon training!

Oh hey new running shoes. You served me well tonight on my 1600 repeats

Normally I do most of my speed work on the treadmill so that I can control my pace, but we finally, finally had a break in the cold weather yesterday. I just couldn't let a day with temps in the 50s pass by with a treadmill run.

So, I did some creative thinking about where I could find a track.

And then it dawned on me. I sort of live on one.

My apartment building takes up an entire city block, with sidewalks encircling the whole thing. Sure it's more square than oval, but it's literally right out my front door. My own urban track.

So I mapped the distance in MapMyRun, and the loop around my apartment building is somewhere between .3 and .4 miles. It took about three loops (maybe a tiny more) to equal a mile. How perfect is that?

I started with a two-loop warm up, just to shake things out and mentally prep myself for the pain that was about to follow.


Then I launched into my repeats. 1 mile fast, 1/2 mile recovery. Repeat three times.

The goal was for each of the miles to come in at 8:07. Here's how things actually went down:

Mile 1: 7:57.68
Mile 2: 8:21.95
Mile 3: 7:58.94

Totally nailed it on the first and last miles. Not sure what happened in the middle. That might have been when I got stuck behind some walkers on the sidewalk and it took me a bit to get around them. Guess that's one of the hazards of doing intervals on the sidewalk and not at an actual track.

Overall though, totally killed it on this workout, but boy were my legs aching and my chest heaving when I finished. Those half mile recovery periods were slooowwww. Lots of walking to catch my breath and make sure I was prepped for the next mile,  but I feel great about the effort.

And even though I normally despise "track" workouts, running my repeats this way actually worked well. Maybe it's because I couldn't see through my apartment building see to how far I had to go, so it didn't seem quite so long and awful. I'm sure a few people I passed more than once thought I was a big weirdo, especially those construction workers that saw me go by about 500 times, but this might just be the way I handle my repeats all spring. Puts new meaning to "running around the block."

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  1. Great idea to use what you have! Great JOB!

  2. Mile repeats are no joke. And I love using the world as my gym - nice work!