I believe you should do what you love and what makes you happy! I love running and it makes me happy (trust me, before I became a runner, I would never have believed this would be me).
Running fast doesn't make me happy. Until I train more and get faster and it become somewhat easier. PR'ing a race does make me happy. In order to PR a race, I have to run faster. Well, you see the catch 22 here.
In November 2012, I started doing weekly speed work and weekly hill runs. In a month, I ended up PR'ing a 5k I had been working on for 2 years (with the help of Kelly). And the following month (in January 2013), I PR'd my half marathon! I was beginning to be able to hold my speed for longer distances and didn't feel quite so miserable doing it! In fact, I was quite enjoying it!
I don't like dwelling on the past and the negative aspects but I then dislocated my shoulder 2 times (read about them here and here) in the month of February 2013 and was sidelined for about 1 month. And there went my speed. And it was a while before I even attempted any again while I tried to rehab my shoulder.
I intermittently did speed work over the summer but you know how summer is! Hot! I never got back to the 1x a week speed work I had been doing. And I've definitely been struggling with finding my speed again. Since I don't like running fast and feeling uncomfortable, I don't do it much. With the winter, it's been hard because I'm not going to try to do speed work in the evening, in the dark, watching out for ice, or running on the snow. And if given the opportunity to run outside in those conditions or on the treadmill to do speed work, I mostly opted to run outside at a slower pace.
I did recently try the short interval speed work that I saw on Out and About, which is basically running speed 1 min, recover 1 min (x 10). Made the treadmill go by really fast! And I really liked it. Although I was on the treadmill that day. I hope when the weather gets better (which it is starting too, sort of), I can incorporate weekly speed work into my running again. I want to get faster. I want to feel ok with the slightly uncomfortable feeling of a faster run. I want to be able to mentally push through when I'm getting tired.
I have a half marathon this weekend (the Get Lucky Half in Chicago). I'm not even going to try coming near a PR. I'm just looking at beating my December Half time of 2:18. Ideally, I'd like to run consistent 10 min miles for the average pace. But anything under 2:15 would make me feel "ok". Now this isn't quite the "attitude" I want to have when going into a half marathon. But I know I'm nowhere beating my PR time of 2:03!
Do you do speed work? How do you handle your mind if it tells you to stop? Is there a certain type of speed work you enjoy doing? How would you help a beginner start up on speed work?
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