Friday, November 16, 2012

Speed Work

It's Friday!  I'm pretty excited about that, although I really don't have any plans other than a 9.4 mile run tomorrow morning with my Yankee Runner marathon training group.  I haven't seen some of these people since the marathon so I'm pretty excited to go even though they are making me get up at the butt-crack of dawn.  Other than that run, I may go see the new Twilight movie. I'm not a HUGE Twilight fan but I did read all the books because my cousin had them and since everyone was talking about it, I wanted to see what the big deal was about.  The books are of course better than the movies but since my friends usually ask me to go see the movie, I do since it's nice to spend some time with them.

The other day I was talking to Kelly about speed work.  I'm not a fast runner.  I've never been.  I also say my "fast" pace and my "regular" pace aren't too far apart.  In the beginning of this year, I was going to try to attempt speed work and then I started getting some of my minor injuries.  Since my injuries were almost back to back to back, I laid off the speed work.  When I recovered from the injuries, I laid off the speed work for a while to make sure I stayed injury free.  When I felt enough time had passed, I threw one track workout in and tried a few fast intervals another time.  But even with reading other people's reports on speed work, I have a hard time incorporating it into my run life.  Then it got close to my 3rd marathon (Chicago in October) and I laid off the speed work again.

I think enough time has passed after the marathon and I'm not currently training for a particular race that maybe I can start incorporating some speed work into my training.  But where to start?  I'd basically like to PR my 5k time.   My current PR is from 2 years ago and I think that is crazy!  I didn't train for that run.  I was sick as a dog.  I figured the course must have been short but it's in my neighborhood and I've run it many times, and well...it's not short.

Kelly told me to start with running 400m intervals.  400m intervals are short enough that you can handle the faster pace since you know you will stop soon.  She told me that you should be pushing hard but not as hard as 5k pace (I think I have that right... lol).  She also said that the first 400 shouldn't be my fastest and the last interval shouldn't be my slowest.  She said it's supposed to be hard. If it's easy, you aren't pushing hard enough.

I told her I was unsure what my "fast" pace should be (and that I know all about the McMillan pace calculator thing).  She said to not look at my garmin for the first time and try to run the 400s as consistent as possible by running by feel.  Then afterwards, look at my splits and see how consistent (or not) I was. 

I had planned to run on the busy street (because it's dark) which from my house out and back is 4 miles.  But as I started running, I realized this might not be the best path for speed work because I may get stopped by lights or cars so after my first speed interval, I started running back into the neighborhood so I wouldn't have that problem. I also don't like to attempt speed work in the dark because it's very easy to step wrong or trip since visibility is low.  I tried to keep my splits as consistent as I could but I was running by feel and so I wasn't sure how well I was doing at that.  I had set my garmin up for interval training and was using the beeping to tell me when to switch from one to another.

This is what my 400 splits looking like by running by feel:

Speed: 2:07, 2:07, 2:06, 2:08, 2:11
Recovery: 2:30, 2:32, 2:36, 2:31, 2:32

I was shocked when I looked at that.  I did fall off slightly at the end but since I was running "garmin-less", not bad at all!  Even my recovery intervals were very consistent!  I was pretty thrilled with that because I actually pride myself with knowing how to run by feel and how to listen to my body while running so I can adjust accordingly.  By the way, can I tell you those 2:00 minute speed intervals felt like 4:00 minutes and I kept thinking I was missing the beeping on my garmin to tell me when to switch!  lol.

Now, I kept saying that it was only 400's, and that's true.  It's a short distance and not at all what running a 5k at that pace is like (which I know).  But I have to stop saying "only" 400's.  The thing is, I have to start somewhere.  I can't just jump into running 8:30 pace for 1 mile followed by a small recovery.  I mean I could run an 8:30 pace for one mile, but that would be it for me!  I'd probably be running 10:30's after that!

So I started with 400's. I guess I should do 400's again next week.  When should I switch to 800's?  I also think the paces were right on with what I want to run right now.   8:30 pace for my "fast" pace and 10's for recovery.  I'll check the "chart" to see what the suggestion is also.

So thanks Kelly for helping me attempt some speed work!  Your help was appreciated!!

18 comments:

  1. Congrats on starting speedwork. My main goal with speedwork is to stay injury free since it puts a lot of stress on joints, ligaments and muscles. So, I am trying to run fast, but not too fast (like Kelly advises). Anyway, I like to keep my speedwork distances consistent over several weeks, so I can see how I am improving week-to-week. Improvement means not only faster running times, but also shorter recovery times. After a few weeks (if I show some improvement), I may move on to a different set of speed training distances. Good luck in getting your 5k pr!

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    1. Great Pete! Yes my main goal is no injuries. I'm constantly aware of my knees and ankles while running!

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  2. Congrats! I also tried some speedwork this week too... I did 90s fast, 90s recover. Not too far off than what you're doing!

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    1. Awesome! 90's as in 90 seconds? If so, yup...pretty close to what I'm doing!

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  3. Great job on the speedwork! I love speedwork, but apparently I'm one of the few! :) I would try doing 400s again, maybe once a week, and once you feel like you have a good handle on them, try doing the same workout, but alternating 400s and 800s. And then when you have a good handle on that, do all 800s (and maybe drop a set). Then when you have a handle on that, alternate 800s and 1600s. Then do 1600s. (And drop another set.)

    Also, do you ever do tempo runs? That's another good way to increase speed. Basically 1 mile warm-up; and then anywhere from 2-5 miles at "tempo pace" = comfortably hard; and then a cool down. I've heard your 10K pace/effort is a good pace to aim for during the comfortably hard miles. I would start with 2 miles for your first tempo run, and gradually build up from there.

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    Replies
    1. Thanks Maggie. I'll try that! My problem is that I'm impatient and it's hard not to want to move up too quickly!

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  4. Which garmin do you have that has the interval training setting?

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    Replies
    1. I have the forerunner 305.

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  5. Which garmin do you have that has the interval training setting?

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  6. Which garmin do you have that has the interval training setting?

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  7. After I finish my 5ks this week, I am going to incorporate some speed work - my next goal? Under 30 minute 5k! :D

    Great job on your speed work!!

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  8. Congratulations...!!!

    ReplyDelete
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    Congratulations...!!!

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