After 9 days of waiting, I finally got my speed workout done this morning.  While I was rather anxious about how it would go (fast is a 4 letter word after all), it turned out better than I feared.  The workout was on my local high school track with a 2 mile warm-up, 3 mile repeats with 200 meter active recovery in between, and finally a 1 mile cool down.  Here are my splits:

Mile 1 Mile 2 Mile 3 Recovery Mile 4 Recovery Mile 5 Mile 6  
Pace 09:48 09:21 06:58 17:28 06:50 17:01 06:51 09:31
Average HR 140 149 178 148 177 149 177 156

My pace targets were 10 min for the first mile, 9 minute for the second, 6:50 for the next 3 miles, and then whatever felt OK for the final mile.  I had no targets for the 2 recovery segments.  My 3 mile repeats were all within 8 seconds of my target, which is huge win as far as I’m concerned.  Granted, all of my targets were almost picked out of a hat since I’ve never done this type of workout before, but I’m still happy with how things went.  The point was to push my pace well above my comfort level.  I very rarely run sub-8 minute miles and that’s usually only downhill assisted miles.  Needless to say, I was uncomfortable.

Each of the mile repeats seemed to go the same way.  The first quarter mile was very fast (6:35-6:40 area).  I would then glance at my watch and decide I should slow down a bit.  Next thing I know my average pace is up to almost 7 minutes.  The final lap of each mile I would push pretty hard and end up close to my 6:50 target.  I’m hoping I’ll get more consistent with my pace the more I do this workout.  There’s always going to be some issues the first time you try something.  It’s rare to hit a homerun the first time you swing a bat for instance.  Frankly, I’m a little surprised this went as well as it did.  Miles 4 and 5 were virtual carbon copies of each other with very little deterioration in my performance.  At some point I might do 4 mile repeats, but that sounds like something for my next training cycle.

For my recovery segments, I walked the 200 meters.  I wasn’t sure if I would walk or jog them until I finished the first fast mile and wanted to just go lie down for a minute.  It didn’t take me the full 200 meters to recover, but it was fairly close.  It may have taken less time after miles 4 and 5, but I don’t have any hard numbers to back this up.  The nice thing about deciding to walk for my recovery is that I was able to push myself a little harder than I would have otherwise.  But even though I was going pretty hard, I’m not sure if I was pushing myself hard enough.  If I’m going to err, I’d rather err on running too easy a workout than too hard.  I’m always afraid of getting injured and I equate speed with injury.  There’s lots of other things that can get you hurt, but that’s always how I’ve thought about it.

I plan to do the same workout once per week for the next couple months.  It will be interesting to see whether I get faster and if so how much faster.  I’m thinking I might be able to improve by 10-15 seconds, but who knows.  And if I don’t get any faster, that’s OK as well.  It’s not like I need to run fast in order to run 100 miles.  I just need to be more stubborn than sane.

What speed workouts do you do?

One thought on “I Feel The Need For Speed”

  1. Hills. Find a hill at least 6% grade (steep) that take about 2 min to run up at normal pace. Do 3 rounds of 1 run at hard pace, recovery jog down hill, 1 run at harder pace, recovery jog down, 1 run at “everything you got and might blow up before top of hill”.

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