This is our first ever blog post upgrade (call it Jenn Donovan v1.1?), and we’re excited to bring you some more insight. Originally, I had hoped to include some insight from Jenn’s coach at New Balance Boston, Dan Green. Hectic week, but long story short I forgot to reach out to him until right before I published it. He was kind enough to respond and provide some very good information, so we felt it was necessary to update and republish.
I think Dan’s commentary also provides a nice intro, laying the foundation for where Jenn was in her training, fitness, health, etc.:
Jenn has been battling some hamstring instability off and on for awhile now. We’d move past it, get into great shape, and it would rear its ugly head again. It sidelined her for much of this spring where she wasn’t able to do much of anything fast. We’d done some phenomenal workouts leading up to after the first 10k at Stanford (which she only made it halfway through due to some discomfort). Along the way, the hamstring problem had eroded some of her confidence in her ability to compete at the level she and I both knew she could. In her buildup late this spring once things settled down again, we’ve been doing more speed endurance and hill work to try and build her hamstring strength and correct muscle balances that have been causing her injuries.
Dan provides us with some solid info there and gives us a good idea of where Jenn was coming from going into this workout. So here it is, the original with some more input from Dan Green mixed in.
It’s late, I know, I know…my bad. Better late than never, right? Been a hectic week. If only this was my job, then I could focus on it… Fantasies aside, we proudly present this week’s edition of Negative Splits featuring Jenn Donovan. Jenn runs for New Balance Boston, and if you remember way back in February she won the Amherst 10 Miler and was one of our very first interviews. Here’s Jenn, to tell us about her interval workout:
Reflecting on multitude of the miles I’ve logged over the years, the places I’ve run, the people who I’ve run with, it’s been quite a journey! As an avid soccer player in high school (All-American center mid-fielder, senior year), I didn’t have the same appreciation and love for the sport as I do now. I didn’t understand how the high school cross country team could continually run field loop, after field loop, around our soccer fields and not die of boredom.
When my high school track coach asked to race the 3k my freshman year at the Yale Indoor Invitational, I literally got myself sick thinking how could I possibly race almost two whole miles – 15 laps – on an indoor track. My coach at the time, Steve Borbet, only let me get away with avoiding the 3k once, as he was convinced I had great potential at the longer distances. Two years later, he had me running 9:42 at Penn Relays in ’99 my junior year, good enough to place first (barely!), and probably one of the best races of my life to date.
Funny, how a 3k seemed like such a long distance then, and now over a decade later, I am excited about the opportunity to race my first half-marathon this fall. That’s 13.1 miles right? OK. Just checking. After committing to the half, I wanted to experiment with longer tempos. I was curious to see how my body would handle longer workouts (usually, the distance of my tempos are around 5 miles, and done during the early cross country season).
As luck would have it, the first weekend in June, I saw an online post that a solid group of great local runners in Boston were planning to do a 12 mile tempo run along the Charles River: 4 miles at 6 min pace, 4 @ 550, then drop the pace down further for the last 4 miles. I shared this info with my coach, Dan Green of New Balance Boston, to see what his thoughts were on me joining this tempo workout, with my goal being to complete the first 6 to 8 miles. He gave me the OK and I was excited to see the results.
Dan Green again, with the coach’s take:
As she’s opted to try and do a half marathon this fall, something I would say she’s extremely well suited towards, I wanted to get her into some long tempos. When this workout group popped up, it was a perfect opportunity to be able to do that as the distance and pace were right where she needed to be and the extra company just makes things that much easier. I wanted her to see that despite her layoff earlier in the spring, he strength and fitness were still very good.
Going into this tempo, I wanted to focus on smooth running: rhythm and efficiency. I also wanted to focus on consistent pacing at each mile point, since in past tempo workouts (usually done solo), I tended to start out way too fast which would inevitably ruin the intended plan and purpose of the workout.
The weather on June 2nd for this tempo run ended up being awful, quite frankly: high 50s, rainy and windy, but all the more reason to meet up with people and run with company. [Editor’s Note: At least she only had to run in it. Some of us ended up getting married in that shit!] In attendance: Terry Shea, Wayne Levy, Colman Hatton, Teresa McWalters, Kevin Bolger, and a few others. During the tempo run, people exchanged leading and pacing duties, and the paces were right on! Results were: 601, 556, 556, 556, 551, 547, 544, 548. Total time was 47:02 or 5:52/mile.
I was happy to find myself able to run the entire 8 miles as planned, and extremely thankful to have all this company and assistance. I absolutely could not have done this solo. Two weeks later (June 16, the weekend prior to the BAA 10k), I did this tempo run a second time around with slightly improved results: total time of 46:55 (5:51/mile), finishing the last mile at 545.
Looking forward into this summer’s training, I am planning to get a few more of these tempo runs under my belt before the half marathon this fall, as one crucial component to training for distance and building strength is the tempo. And with company, all the better!
Here’s Dan one last time, with some thoughts in conclusion:
The workout went smoothly and she got faster in successive sessions. The renewed confidence set her up well for a strong competitive performance at the BAA 10k (34:33) and will really help set a positive tone for training over the remainder of the summer. Her next big race will be Falmouth in August and then a half-marathon in early fall (most likely in Philadelphia).
Nice workout(s), Jenn! We’ll be looking out for your results from both Falmouth and Philly, good luck!