Friday, August 3, 2012

The S Word

Well, if you read my blog regularly (and I know it!!) you probably have an inkling of what the "S" word is, after my ruminative post of pace and improvement.

It's the S Word folks, SPEEDWORK!

OMG, just typing the word just kind of bores me.

Well, maybe not so much that it bores me, it's just I'm not big on the whole Numbers.  2 x 100, 2 mile repeats at tempo, 4 x 400 at 5K pace, ya da ya da ya da..intervals, pace, tempo, strides. 

I should explain.  I'm not a track person. I did not run in grade school, high school, or college.  When I had a plan for my first marathon, it did not involve in any sort of "speedwork".  The idea was to get one to the start line and finish.  I never really changed anything up for marathon #2, and by then, I had found trails, and then ultras, and then there really was no reason to move fast.

I did some reading earlier in the week, and it does appear that a "speedwork" session could actually benefit my ultra running.  I will not go into the premise why...all you trackies and college runners can smirk and nod your heads.

So the idea is to go to the track on my next day off, which I believe is Wednesday. Warm up for a mile or two.  Then do some "repeats" (is that right, trackies??) of one loop around the track, which is..400m?

Run 400 m, then walk a loop for recovery, then repeat.  My next big question is pace. How do I determine what pace to run?  I've read, run at 5K pace.  Well, okay, I ran 2 5K this year, finished them in 27 minutes and change.

So I should try and run each 400 m, at 5K pace?  Well, how do I know what that is?  I really have no clue. I did some math-which hurt my head- 27 minutes divided by 3.1 miles= 8.70 min/mile= 9.10 min/mile so each 400 m should be 2 minutes 27 seconds ( my brain is already clouding over with numbers..)  how on earth do I do that?

Okay, I also read I shouldn't "Sweat" the first couple sessions, I should just focus on form and bla bla bla (I forgot what the rest way, I kind of grayed it out..)

Okay.  The basic premise is, I go to track on Wednesday. I warm up adequately. I run 4 laps of 400 m (I'm sure I'm supposed to write "4 X 400m" or something cool like that) at a pace harder than my leisurely ultra speed.  Maybe use the Garmin and try and keep each 400 m in the 8** minute range.  Jog/walk one loop between each as recovery.

Feel free to chime in with advice. But put it all in  English.

I do think speedwork sessions can help with my leg turnover.I think I need to push myself a bunch.  I need to get out of the complacent endurance runner that I am.  I can go, forever (well, for a long time.) But can I go, faster?  That's what I want to now find out.  "If you always do, what you have always done..."


  1. this is fantastic!

    for your workout on Wednesday, do a 15-20 minute warm-up, then some easy strides to loosen up.
    you should do 8x400m at 1:53-1:56. do a very easy 200m jog between each interval. if you drop off pace badly, stop at 6 repeats. end with an easy 15-20 minute cool-down.

    this will be a good start -- enjoy.

  2. Good luck! I have an issue figuring out the speed I *should* be going for speedwork too. I NEVER run with a watch, so the change in mindset is almost as rugged as the work itself. Plus... it's called WORK. blah.

    But... it works. (see what I did there?) So get out there, and good on ya. :-)

  3. Another thing you might consider is doing a more casual form of speedwork. You wouldn't have to go to the track. You could, say, as part of a regular run find "intervals" to run fast (like from one telephone pole to another, or I like to do the length of one block since I'm in the city) with an equaivalant distance to "recover". Or make your intervals about time (run really hard for x amount of time with the same length recovery time). There are all kinds of ways to make a game of it that don't involve the track or doing math.


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