Seven Sprints and Off to the Races

I don’t normally go to Orangetheory on travel days; I normally try to go every Tuesday and Thursday. But I had missed a class a few weeks ago, so I had one extra to make up before the end of the billing cycle. I didn’t know when I was going to squeeze that in, but then I heard from several people that today’s class was a blast. I’m flying in the evening today so I could be on a few calls that are during my normal flight time, so that meant I could duck out to try the workout myself this morning. And I’m so glad I did, because It. Was. Awesome.

Today was a “power” day, meaning lots of short sprints. And when I say “lots”, I really mean it! I had heard ahead of time that there were twelve all-outs in today’s class (whereas normal is around two to four). However, the class I went to was 3G (meaning, three groups, whereas some classes are two groups), so we did seven all-outs rather than twelve. It was still pretty awesome! While usually Orangetheory classes involve a mix of base pace, push pace, and all-out, today really just had us doing all-outs with recovery walks in between each one. Here was the 2G treadmill workout:


Just fifteen minutes and you’re done!

I started out class on the rower, and wasn’t rowing very strong – I blamed all the sugar I ate this weekend and the fact that I didn’t get a ton of sleep. But when I got up on the treadmill, I decided I wanted to try for some strong speeds on the all-outs, especially since they were so short. I started out with 9.5mph (6:19 pace) for the first 90 second push, then cruised to a totally comfortable base of 8.5mph (7:03 pace). When it came time for the sprints, I did the first one at 10.5mph (5:43 pace), but then did the rest in that first block at 11mph (5:27 pace). The efforts really didn’t feel that tough (they were only sixty seconds each), and when I watched myself run in the mirror, I looked like I was just doing a solid run rather than a sprint.

So for round two where we were only doing 30 sec all-outs, I bumped it all the way up to 12mph (5:00 pace), a pace I’d never before tried at altitude in Colorado. With the super short duration of these intervals, I ended up feeling like it still wasn’t quite enough, so for the final two, I also bumped my incline up to 2% for an extra challenge (equivalent of 4:56 pace on flat ground)! After all of that, I still only got one “splat point” (where your heart rate goes over 80% of your max) for the class. I couldn’t believe it!

I know today’s sprints were really short, but I’m still feeling like it was a major accomplishment for me to max out the treadmill in Colorado. I’ve done that once or twice at Orangetheory in Florida, but as per my usual way-tougher-on-myself-than-I-would-be-on-others attitude, I had always told myself that it didn’t count because it wasn’t at altitude. But now I’ve maxed out the treadmill at 5500 feet! I feel on top of the world.

I am really proud of how much stronger and faster I’ve gotten in the last six months thanks to Orangetheory. Danielle wrote a similarly excited post this week about how pleasantly surprised she is to find she’s good at weight lifting, and I could relate to so much of what she wrote.

“While I know some people would say that being able to run a marathon makes you a “good” runner, the truth is, it has never come easily to me and it never will. I have not seen nearly as much improvement as I should have for the many years I’ve been running.”

Marathon running did come much easier to me than I expected before I started running at all. I was constantly surprising myself by being able to turn in decently okay times with far less training than most. But even after 100+ marathons, I never thought of myself as a “real” runner, because I wasn’t fast and I wasn’t really running to my potential. In fairness, I’m still not sure if I’m running to my full potential, but I know I’m getting closer to it. And I’m just so pleasantly surprised and excited to find myself maxing out the treadmill! That’s a milestone I truly never thought I’d reach.

And now, it’s time for me to put my newfound speed to the test. Next weekend, I’ll be visiting family in upstate New York, so I signed up for the Grafton Lakes Run for the Roses 5K on Sunday morning. There isn’t a course map, and the description says that it’s downhill in the first half and uphill in the second half, so it’s not really ideal… but I’m still hoping to PR and go sub-21. And if I’m being really honest and putting it all out there, my goal is actually to go sub-20. Thanks to all the treadmill training I’ve been doing lately, I feel pretty confident that I am capable of running sub-20 under the right conditions; I just don’t know if Sunday will be the day I manage to do it. I really hope so!

So… my goal is now publicly out there. Maybe that’s a lot of pressure, but I’m hoping the public accountability is what I need to be disciplined for the days leading up to the race, and then what I need to push hard on race day, even though I know that the second half of the race will be rough. But if I stay on pace, that second half will only be less than 10 minutes… which I think is short enough to suck it up and grit it out. I’m planning to spend the next six days eating healthy, working out hard the next few days, and then resting Friday and Saturday so I’m raring to go Sunday morning. I can’t wait!


  1. 19:52.

    Nice assessment – “when I watched myself run in the mirror, I looked like I was just doing a solid run rather than a sprint…. In fairness, I’m still not sure if I’m running to my full potential, but I know I’m getting closer to it.”

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