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!!