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How I met “Speedwork”

When I first started to run, speed was not something on my mind.  I instead started running as a preventive measure – I didn’t want to gain those dreaded Freshman 15. Then I ran my first 5K and I actually came in 3rd place for females (it was a small race).  I attributed this speed to intervals on an elliptical (odd, I know).  Maybe actually running some intervals would be a little more effective? I finally decided to try some speed work and in 2009 I ran my fastest half marathon by 13 minutes and my fastest marathon by almost 20 minutes.  This was the product of a workout I read in Runner’s World, and that I know for certain because it was the only speed work I ever did at that time (other than bike intervals once a week for 30 minutes). I loved my Tuesday speed workouts because the distance never seemed as long as it did when I was running at a steady pace. Perhaps due to the fact that I didn’t have the energy to think about how far I was actually running.  The workout hurt, but I knew it was coming every week, so I just did it with no complaints.  The results were evident.

This workout can be tweaked to any distance, as long as the goal is the same – run hard for x amount of minutes, rest for y amount of minutes.  I was training for a marathon so my workout went like this:

2 mile warm up
Run 6 minutes 15 seconds slower than 5K pace
Jog 3 minutes
Run 6 minutes 15 seconds slower than 5K pace
Jog or 3 minutes
Run 5 minutes 10 seconds slower than 5K pace
Jog 2 minutes
Run 5 minutes 10 seconds slower than 5K pace
Jog 2 minutes
Run 4 minutes at 5K pace
Jog 1 minute
Run 4 minutes at 5K pace
Jog 1 minute
Cool down for 1 – 2 miles (depending on goal race distance).

(If your race distance is shorter, only do one repeat of each interval and shorten the warmup and cool down.)

Why I like this workout:

  1. It goes by fast
  2. If I forget my Garmin, the number of songs played is a good way to judge number of minutes ran
  3. My calorie burn was super high afterward so I got to eat lots of yummy food (I’m always about the food),
  4. It produces results.

There are plenty of other speed workouts I do, and I’ll share them in the weeks to come, but this one holds a special place in my heart.  I feel like it really introduced me to being a “fast” runner.

(First half marathon after I started speed work – I definitely wasn’t expecting this.)

(Fastest marathon – speed work and lower mileage than previous training)

If you try it, let me know what you think!

Happy trails and Happy Running,
Tracie

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5 Comments Post a comment
  1. Yeah, interval training is great. It is a nice change up from the long runs and it really does help bring times down. The boredom of winter is a great time to add them into a routine, in my opinion.

    December 14, 2011
    • Hi Hank! I totally agree about changing things up during the winter. Whenever I get stuck doing the same thing, I end up getting injured. Do you have any speed workouts you recommend?

      December 14, 2011
      • I’m essentially doing what you are doing. Will update if I come across anything new.

        December 15, 2011
  2. Will def. be trying that some of that speedwork soon. Thx!

    December 15, 2011
    • Awesome!! I’d love to hear how it works out for you =)

      December 15, 2011

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