As I mentioned earlier, 2011 is the year I am bound and determined to get my running speed up to the point where I don’t feel like I am ‘jogging’ all the time (not that there is anything wrong with jogging). One of the reasons I want to do this is to speed up my average workout. Running 60-75 minutes a day is a lot less stressful on your body than running 90-105 minutes a day doing the same mileage and if I ever want to achieve some of my marathon goals/dreams, I need to get so that I can run 8-10 miles 3+ days a week (plus a slower and longer ‘long’ run).
Towards this end – I have been trying to have Monday be my ‘speed work’/intervals day, Tuesday be a tempo run, Wednesday be an easy/recovery run, Thursday be a tempo run, Friday be another easy/recovery run and Saturday be the long run.
It is going to be interesting to see how much my lack of speed is attributable to heredity or body type or ‘gifts of God’ and how much is just from not pushing my comfort zone on a daily basis for years on end.
I have been doing my speed work on the treadmill. Eventually I will move it to a track in the summer, but for now, it makes my mind a little happier to be on the treadmill. The first two weeks I was alternating 8 mile per hour (mph) pace for 30 seconds at a time alternating with 4 mph recovery pace for about 60 seconds at a time. I found that I was able to do this for a couple of miles without me allowing my mind to take over and force me to slow down. A lot of speed work (at least for me) is a mental game and I am going to have to work on building up those mental skills. This week I changed it up a bit and did 7.5 mph intervals for 60 seconds alternating with 4.3 mph recovery for 2 minutes.
My current goal is to eventually get the 8 mph segments up to 60 seconds in length and the 7.5 mph intervals up to 120 seconds in length.
As far as the tempo runs go, I am still trying to find out what works, but I am already seeing that my body is adapting to a faster pace based upon the speed work. Some of these runs are on the road, some on the treadmill (mainly it depends on how windy it is when I am ready to run). I have been trying to maintain sub 11 minute miles (mm) when running on the road and actually find my pace is getting down towards 10 mm. The legs like to give up the last mile or on more uphill routes, so at those points in time I will let myself cruise for about 25 steps every time I cross a road and it seems to allow me to conquer those mental break points.
Yesterday was a windy afternoon, so I hit the treadmill. I worked on starting out at a faster pace and then decreasing the speed .1 mph every tenth of a mile until it started getting comfortable and then cranking it back up again.
It’s a work in process, and I think the first half of the year is going to be the hardest as I work on conquering the mental hills ahead of me and also on building up my daily mileage, but I am looking forward to seeing the changes I can accomplish.