Last night, I did my first set of intervals of the season. I run them on the same course as last year, so it's very easy to compare times. I'm about a minute faster over 6 x 1 mile than this time last year, but almost two minutes slower than I was in May, at my peak.
Until February, I do two speed sessions a week. Two interval days, if my legs hold up; one interval and one fartlek day, if the legs are tired or near-injured. On the weekend, I do one or two long runs, a la Steve Quick's Training/Racing Plan (The SQUITRAP; can't find the Amazon link). I will race every third weekend. The races mess up the schedule but serve as great motivation.
I love the predictable progression towards faster intervals. I usually shave off time in small increments thoughout the winter. Occasionally, a day can be slower than the previous session, but overall the trend is usually clear.
In March, maybe late March, I will start cutting down one of the interval days to 8 x 800 on the track. I will keep doing the 6x1 mile, mostly to keep checking the progress.
Then the racing begins for real. This year, I will keep doing the intervals through the spring, evetually doing 400s. I haven't done speed like that in years, and it will be interesting to see if the legs hold up. This year, I did my 16:15 5000 after which I bailed out and started doing triathlons and ultras.
Not in 2010, and I will tell you why. I am turning 35 next year and, as such, am suddenly a national age-group player. I will have to look into it, but I think I would be able to win or medal at several distances. Of course, some very fast runners are over 35 but they still run in the open races. I have never won an individual medal at the national level and ,who knows, maybe it's too late in a few years.
It's exciting to think about. I still have mixed feelings about being in Denmark. I miss my son and the way medicine is practiced in the US. But the running scene is just so much better here, for traditional long distance races, anyway. The masters track and cross country races this year have been so much fun. When it comes to trail ultras in Denmark, though, there is really not much going on. And, come to think of it, maybe I would prefer beautiful trail ultras to track meets.