So last week was my first speed work in... oh dear... who knows how long. I've never been a huge fan of speed work, but I have stuck with it on occasion when I wanted certain results. Usually in the summer on a local high school track with Jason. In preparing for a marathon April 27, I've been focusing on mileage more than pace since the half marathon March 3. I felt that I needed to slow down a little in order to increase the mileage - at least in the beginning so that my body could handle it. For the half I trained pretty hard, giving a good bit to every run. I was averaging 30-40 miles a week with a rest day or two mixed in. Now I'm not allowing rest days because I want the high mileage, so I'm doing what I ask my clients to do and trying to have easy days.
I was talking this over with Jason one evening and he suggested throwing in one intense run each week. We looked at what Jason considers to be the training pace bible (Daniels' Running Formula) and used my most recent 5k time of 24 minutes. According to my VDOT score in one of his charts my 200 and 400 pace should be around 52 seconds and 1:46 (which I believe is around a 7:00 pace per mile). With that information we settled on a speed workout that would be 200, 200, 400 with equal rest in between each one repeated 3 times. This sounded doable to me so I built the workout and uploaded it to my Garmin since I wouldn't be running it on a track. I decided to do my speed work on Wednesday evenings when I meet my Just Run It training group on campus.
This past Wednesday was my first go and it went pretty well. It was harder than I thought it would be and I couldn't remember what pace I was supposed to be running so I was about 10 seconds off on the 200s and about 7-8 seconds off for the 400s. The surprising thing about it was that I actually enjoyed it. Sure it was more challenging and uncomfortable (talk about jello legs!), but there was also something nice about turning off my brain and simply following the beeping of my watch telling me when to run hard and when to rest.
My second speed workout will be tonight and I'm actually looking forward to it! What? I'm going to do the same workout as last Wednesday one more time, focusing on getting those splits where they need to be and staying consistent. Then I may change it up a little for next week. It's small, but it is a start, and it will do for now.