Thursday, February 9, 2012

Steps for a successful speedwork session

1. Don't spend the day psyching yourself out. Pump yourself up to run fast. Listen to your jams on the way home from work. Wear an outfit that makes you feel speedy.

2. Send the husband and baby to your mother-in-law's for dinner so that you can complete your scheduled 6x400 run without a jogging stroller.

3. While you could run alone, don't. Take the dog. After all, his only response to running fast is to push even faster.

4. Set up your GPS device to "lap" every quarter-mile so you don't have to worry about a lap button or a track.

5. Select a route with minimal stops so that you get the most out of your workout. The park is great for non-stop running and the setting sun will push you to go harder to get the hell up outta there.

6. Mess up the display on your GPS device so that you can no longer see your pace. Instead of sticking to the range dictated by McMillan pace calculator, you'll go as hard as you can until you feel your peanut butter and banana with honey sandwich start to come up.

7. During the last interval just happen to come upon a runner going at a decent clip to use as a rabbit. It works especially well when you think your rabbit is an older albeit fit woman. When you pass it, you realize it's actually a man in tights and a skull cap - giving you immense satisfaction that you could pass him.

8. Do not include a hill along your route, especially during the last interval. You'll feel like a slug and compelled to add another 400 to make up for a lackluster performance during round 6.

9. Upload stats and find yourself pretty proud. I should have done the 400s in 2:03.5 to 2:10.6 (based on 2 hour 10 minute half).

Actual 400 times: 1:59, 2:02, 2:09*, 1:54, 2:02, 1:58, 1:58

My splits are actually in line with a 26:59 5K so we'll see what Saturday brings.

*During the third interval was when I figged up the display and spent too long trying out how to get it back before just going for it.

What are you tips for doing speedwork?


  1. I don't have any tips for speedwork yet, I'm just starting with walking, haha! One day I want to start running though. Your blog has totally inspired me :)

  2. I've never done speedwork, but I need to start. I have some 5k and 10k goals to reach!

  3. I did a lot of speedwork on the treadmill when training for my first 1/2 marathon. I would do sprints for 1 min rest for 30 sec and increase the speed and incline with each sprint. I love interval training. It's a quick way to get in an awesome workout and condition yourself.

  4. On same schedule as you for mini first week of may. I'm so slow. Starting to think of adding speed work to weekly routine to help me pick up the pace. Hadn't considered before reading your blog. Excited to give it a whirl. Installed Run Speeds app on my phone to record splits. Liked how you added your training schedule....good to have a comparison.

    Working to drop at least 20 lbs before race...

  5. I am trying the Furman FIRST training program... the 10K one for now, and then the 1/2M one if I like it. Run 3 intense workouts a week, then cross train 2-3 times/week. The speedwork is close to McMillan times but the tempo runs and even the long runs are FAST! I am definitely having to up my game. So far it is awesome. I am finding my fast.

    However, it means I need to pay attention to the goal times on the intervals -- if I just push till I can push no more, I won't be in any shape to do the 7 mile tempo run (with 2 x 2 miles at almost 5K PR pace!) 2 days later. It's good practice with pacing.

    So maybe my tip is: Try doing intervals at the McM dictated speed, to save a little gas for the rest of the week.

  6. Great speedwork session!
    I "cheat" and mostly do my speed work on the treadmill.