She’s Going for Speed

Morning! I hope you are all doing well. My husband got up to go swimming this morning, so I had to get up to take care of the pup (if one person gets up, she is up) at about 5:30 a.m. Gross. It’s no fun doing this when you don’t have something to show for it (like going to the gym or traveling somewhere). But this little love makes it worth it 🙂

So can I rant really quickly? I have quite a few pet peeves, but one of the biggest is when I am at work and people call me for something and act like it should be the MOST important thing ever. My voicemail CLEARLY states “if this is an urgent matter that need immediate attention…” and I leave instructions about how to transfer to my boss or to the operator. Fact: scheduling a tour is NOT one of those times. Especially when you’ve had more than a week to do so, and didn’t bother to contact me. So basically something that really should have been super simple is now complicated and people are leaving messages for my out-of-town boss, making it seem like I am not around to do my job. NOT THE CASE. Sorry, it really grinds my gears!

Deep breath.

Moving on. So as many of you know, I’ve been somewhat lost when it comes to running motivation since completing my half marathon. The thought of running long distances sounds awful. I’ve done some 5Ks, even set a new PR. When I was getting towards the end of that race, I realized I had a lot left in my tank! I had been training at such a slow and steady rate in order to complete long distances that I wasn’t pushing my pace at all.

And I really want to be faster! I feel like I am more of a short distance person, and while I am so proud of myself for completing my half marathon, I am not sure I am going to want to do another one (anytime soon at least). But I do want to be fast! At the 5K when I really started to book it, my Garmin said I was doing about an 8:30 minute mile. That’s pretty much lightning speed for me! And guess what. I didn’t die.

Here are some running faster tips I’ve found:

  • The single component that most improves pace in races, is a weekly speed session. At the track, start with 4 to 6 x 400. Increase the number of 400s every week by two more until, 10 days before the race, the final workout is: 14 x 400. Each 400 (one lap around a track) should be run eight seconds faster than you want to average per quarter mile. For example, if you wanted to run eight minutes per mile, your quarter-mile race pace would need to be two minutes. The workout pace per lap should in this case be 1 minute, 52 seconds. Walk for half a lap between the 400s. (source)
  • Breaking through to a personal best requires discomfort. Once a week, redefine your comfort zone by getting uncomfortable. Hill work, fartlek runs, speed work, running with a group or taking your run a little farther are all ways to create challenge and change in your running. With proper challenge, you’ll find improved fitness and strength that help you achieve your running goal. (source)  

So here is my plan, I want to get back into running more (I haven’t actually run by myself since before the race haha sad) preferably three times a week. One speed workout, one easy run (I have a course that involves me walking up a KILLER hill), and either a tempo or long run. I really want to use my Garmin for speed workouts, I know it’s capable of doing so, but I haven’t gotten that far into the user’s manual.

What do you prefer to focus on, speed or distance?

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10 thoughts on “She’s Going for Speed

  1. I’m currently trying to get off the speed wagon and go for distance again. I used to only be obsessed with distance, then did a marathon and overtrained, got injured, took time off, then got obsessed with speed. I went from a 10+ min mile to 8 min mile and last summer I was down to 7:35. I’ve taken time off running and I’m heavier than usual (thanks to LiveFit, not fat … I hope) and I’m SLOW. And I can’t run as far. Both are freaking me out. So I’m trying to concentrate on finishing LiveFit (and maybe I’ll do sprints with running instead of on the stairmaster sometime soon??) and then going back to running — focusing on distance.

    I think it’s not a matter of which you like better, it’s what do you want to improve on at any given time. 🙂 Good luck!

    • I think you’re right! If you’ve been pounding the stair master I bet you can do a lot of running, I’ve heard that that’s a great way to develop the muscles that push you while running, so I think you are going to be pleasantly suprised when you get back into running 🙂

  2. Kuddos to you for having a plan girl! I totally am a slow runner. I am also a relatively new runner so I haven’t really developed in that department much. I live in southern Louisiana and suffer with horrible allergies which makes it hard to run outdoors, and I loathe treadmill running. I try to make sure I run at least once a week just to keep at it. I usually stop at 2 miles but after this I think I will start trying to increase the distance little by little!!

    • Oh no! Running with allergies are the WORST! I was SO confused when I finished my last 5K and my mose/sinuses were THROBBING and hurt SO bad, I was like, what is going on!?!?!?! I am not a fan of treadmill running either, I ran 11 miles on the treadmill this winter and wanted to cry. Have you tried speedwork on the treadmill? It helped me a lot 🙂

  3. distance. it’s easier, more relaxing and you don’t have to be fast or a good runner to go far 😉

    and I LOVE AURORA!

  4. This time last year I focused a lot on my speed. 400’s and fartleks are my workouts of choice. It was really not fun, but the pay off was great! Since then my speed has improved even more. I agree that one uncomfortable run each week is good for you. I Hate (with a capital H) hills, but I’ve become so much stronger from running them. Plus, it ups my confidence on race day to know that I’ve done hard work in training.

    Lately my focus has been on distance, but I like both distance and speed. I just don’t train for them at the same time. (I get burnt out if I try to do too many things at once.)*

    • I know what you mean about being confident on race day. On the morning of my half I was like, I was training at about 4500 feet, this is almost at sea level! Done and done. I also tell myself that every hill I run makes me faster in the long run, it helps 🙂

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