Okay fine. It’s a slight exaggeration to say I did speedwork with the Jamaican sprinter and Olympic gold medalist Usain Bolt. Just a tiny bit misleading. It would be more accurate to say that I did Tuesday’s speed workout on the treadmill at the gym while I watched Usain Bolt qualify for the Men’s 200m in the semifinals of the London 2012 Olympics. Nearly as inspirational and motivational, right?
I am new to speedwork. When I trained this past spring for my first half marathon, I ran with a running group whose plan avoided speedwork altogether. We did one long run on Saturdays and four more easy or medium efforts during the week. The coaches thought the best strategy to get us to race day well-trained and injury-free was to have us put in the mileage with four months of steady running. I can see the wisdom in that and it indeed got me to race day healthy and helped me achieve my goal of a sub-2 half.
This time around, I am following a marathon training plan from Runner’s World Run Less, Run Faster, Revised Edition: Become a Faster, Stronger Runner with the Revolutionary 3-Run-a-Week Training Program. The plan incorporates one speed workout, one tempo run, and one long run, plus at least two days of cross-training. Perfect for this triathlete!
The Run Less, Run Faster plan tailors each workout based on the runner’s previous race times (for me, my half marathon time of 1:55:10). Tuesday’s speed workout called for the following:
Warmup at 10:00 pace, 6 mph*
1200m at 7:29, 8.02 mph
1000m at 7:28, 8.04 mph
800m at 7:22, 8.14 mph
600m at 7:17, 8.23 mph
400m at 7:12, 8.33 mph
RI** 200m (for me, done at a gasping walk!)
Cooldown at 10:00, 6 mph
* I mention the miles per hour for people like me who are pace-challenged. For the record, I am also direction-challenged (never ask me if we’re heading north on a trail) and spatial-relations-challenged (it’s a wonder I haven’t tripped over my own feet yet).
** Rest Interval in between each drill.
I find that I love speedwork. I feel a huge sense of accomplishment when I finish. I never get bored, which is saying a lot when I have to run on the treadmill. Even more important, it gives me a physical boost and the mental confidence to know that I am working toward hitting my goal pace on race day.
Do you incorporate speedwork into your running workouts? What’s your favorite track repeat? Do you find the Olympics as inspiring and motivating as I do?!
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