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Archives for the day Tuesday, September 20th, 2011

Speed work

I always write about “the long slow run”.  Today, I am going to talk about speed and variations.  As you may know by now, I tend to write about what I am doing.  Today, I did speed work.  Running at a slow pace helps to build stamina and endurance.  Unfortunately, running slowly also trains you to run slowly.  You have to break it up by throwing in some speed work.  A lot of us like to go out and run at the same speed every time we run.  Our only variation is when we do the long slow run.  There is a fine line between being in a groove and being in a rut.  We all fall into the rut.  Let’s get back into the groove.

It is hard to complete a marathon or become race ready by doing the same thing every day. We need to vary our routine.
The long run – what we do to build endurance
Hills – for speed, strength and fun
Tempo runs – for speed and endurance
Intervals – for speed
Easy run – recovery (I mean slower than a long run pace)

I talk about the long run a lot so I will skip it.
Hills – I like to do trail half marathons for my hill work.  Hills are cool because they make you work so hard going up them.  When I go up the sand ladder at baker beach, I am panting so hard, I am wheezing.  My heart rate goes through the roof when I go up the big hills.  You have to turn off your brain and climb that hill while hoping you don’t have a heart attack.  It only takes a few minutes to climb most hills but it seems like an eternity.  The nice part about hills is that your body gets used to feeling pain without going on a long tempo run.

Tempo runs – Tempo runs are hard.  This is where you run at 80% – 90% of your max heart rate for a short distance, usually 3-5 miles.  I usually run 4 mile tempo runs.  The first mile is a warm up mile where I get my heart rate up to about 150 (170 is my max).  I then run for 3 miles at a heart rate of 150.  It is a long 20 minutes at that heart rate.  The good thing about the tempo run is that it is mindless.  You pretty much go at your maximum sustainable pace for the 3-5 miles you select.  The better your conditioning, the higher your heart rate will be.  Since I am out of shape, my maintainable heart rate will be around 145.

Interval runs – Today, I did an interval run.  I did a one mile warm up followed by ¼ mile pickups.  The pickup pace should be a little faster than the tempo run pace.  I followed the pickup with ¼ recovery run.  I did 4 pickups then 4 recovery runs followed by a 1 mile cool down.  As you get stronger, you can pick up the pace and number of speed sessions.  Interval runs are designed for the track but I use a Garmin GPS in place of the track.

Recovery run – You can’t just go fast and long, you have to have rest and recovery days in your training routine.  I did a long tempo run (decreased tempo pace and increased mileage) yesterday and intervals today.  Tomorrow will be a recovery run day.

Changing things up helps your body get used to the different amounts of stress you put on it.  The first few times you pick up the pace, it will be painful until you get used to the exertion.  As you get used the exertion, you will get faster.