Negative Splits: The Katie DiCamillo Session

by EJN Comments (0) Articles, Training

There’s a buzz in the air around Level headquarters these days. Items seem to be complimenting each other quite nicely, resulting in an infectious synergy, while at the same time the audience is expanding and creating even more opportunity.

In terms of synergy, our last edition of Negative Splits was a companion piece to the Bar Harbor article in the latest issue. This edition of also ties into the same issue, specifically Lesley Hocking‘s piece on the Natural Finish Line.

As far as the growth, we’ve picked up a lot of new followers since the last Negative Splits was published, and also developed a new relationship. published our last Negative Splits and going forward they’ll probably feature something from Level Renner on their site every couple of weeks. This is a mutually beneficial relationship that we’re quite excited about!

This week’s edition of Negative Splits comes to us from Katie DiCamillo. Katie last appeared On The Level in a post about the Yankee Homecoming ten miler a couple of weeks ago. This is a workout that Katie did on Sunday August 19, 2012, in preparation for the NYC Marathon. We hope she wasn’t planning checking a bag!

It has been exactly one week since the Falmouth Road Race. It was a very hard effort for me; I worked on being aggressive early on in the race, which I tend not to do in the longer races. After the race, the coming week focused on building mileage.

On Wednesday I had my first twenty miler in preparation for the NYC Marathon! This will be my first marathon, so it is a completely new learning experience.  After, I had three days to recover and then a workout on Sunday. The twenty mile long run went well, but it took a lot out of my legs. They were craving a hard workout and something fast. This workout would hopefully loosen up the tightness from the long run.

Katie after the Yankee Homecoming 10 Miler

For this workout, I did not have a specific pace to hit. It’s simply running a hard effort for three minutes. As difficult as it is to just go out there and run, hoping that you are doing it right and making the most of your workout, I love this type of workout when your legs are tired from all the mileage.  It takes the pressure off hitting a specific time. This doesn’t mean I can jog around the park pretending to go fast -I have to do it like any other workout. My main goal for this workout is to get the past race and long run out of my legs; loosen them up so I can be ready for the next workout in three days. It is an effort in mental strength as much as physical-I am the only one out there who can push myself as hard as I can go. I think this type of workout will benefit me greatly when I start to train more for the long, grueling mental and physical trial that is the marathon.

Katie is coached by the one and only Ray Treacy, and he had this to say:

Every 14 days, we will do workouts geared towards 5k and 10k training…one week it might be 8x300m, 6x4mins, or 10x2mins. These helps to keep the legs moving fast while building up the mileage for the marathon.

Time to get ready for the workout, so back to Katie:

I got up somewhat early for a Sunday morning (I let myself sleep in until 830 am). It was a beautiful day with temperatures starting in the 60’s and not really getting any hotter than 72. So I decided to take my time and procrastinate with getting ready since I didn’t have to rush to beat the heat. I sipped two cups of coffee and I had something to eat to fuel for the workout.

I decided to do my workout on the Blackstone bike path in Lincoln, Rhode Island. This is one of my favorite places to run in RI, and I do most of my tempo runs and long runs here. The path is completely paved, is marked at every half mile, and has the river running along it on both sides.

The workout: 8 x 3 minute efforts with 2 minutes rest

I started with a 25 min warm up. My legs were a bit stiff, so I ran as long as it took to loosen them up. I did a little bit of stretching and put on my NB workout flats. After a few strides I was ready to workout!

As was mentioned earlier, the path is marked at each half mile. This enabled me to gauge how fast I was going for each interval. I would typically need to add another thirty seconds or so after passing the half to complete the full three minutes. Once I hit three minutes, I turned around and jogged back to the previous half-mile mark as a recovery before starting again.

The first few efforts were a bit slow and steady…my legs were very heavy but it felt glorious to be pushing hard and trying to run fast! Since I was doing these efforts on the road, I didn’t really know how fast I was going until I got to the half mile mark. I had to trust my instinct and stay comfortable for the first two minutes and pick it up in that last minute.  The last three reps were my best efforts. My times weren’t that much faster but I felt so much better than in the beginning.

The times for each half-mile were 2:34, 2:33, 2:35, 2:34, 2:33, 2:33, 2:32, 2:33, to which I then added an additional 30 seconds on each rep.

Overall I am happy with this workout. I started off shaky and not very comfortable at the beginning and I ended feeling much more confident and controlled in the reps. These type of short workouts help to flush out all the junk in my legs that make them feel heavy, and are amazing preparation for the long workout that will come later on in the week. It makes me excited to see how I’ll feel the rest of the week on my runs!

So much is made of the big, epic workout but it’s the smaller maintenance-type workouts that can be a difference maker. Not only was Katie getting in some quality running, but it was helping to set her up for a bigger workout later in the week. Although it’s not technically the same as what Lesley was getting at in her Natural Finish Line piece, it does share some similarities. Specifically, the fact that this one is getting you away from the monotony of the track and over-reliance on measured distances.

Thanks again to Katie (and Ray) and best of luck to her in NYC this fall!

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