Friday, October 9, 2015

I Love Speed Work ~ I Hate Speed Work

That is how I feel about speed work.
  • It makes me feel invigorated.
  • It makes me feel sore.
  • It makes me feel accomplished.
  • It makes me need a rest day.
  • It makes me smile from the endorphin rush.
  • It makes me challenged on my next run.
Last year I did intervals or progression runs weekly, on the treadmill, so I could hit exact times and paces.
I started doing 3 minute intervals and worked my way up to 7 minutes.

This was a sample workout later in my training.
3 min. warm up - 9:13 pace x 6 min., 8:57 pace X 6 min., 8:41 pace x 6 min. & four minutes @ 8:32

This year since the treadmill and I have completely broken up, I didn’t start speed work outside until a few weeks ago. My bus loop speed work is so different from what I’ve done in the past I am not sure what kind of payoff it will have.

The loop is about .20 of a mile around.  I just pick up the pace; I am not good at hitting anything consistent outside. As far as I can tell I vary anywhere from a 7:10 pace (for a few seconds) to a 9:00 pace. 
I just go around the loop once faster than normal, and then recovery jog around a lap. Repeat, till I can't take it 

 The elevation chart for the bus loop cracks me up. 

This is how my splits looked on Wednesday. I take my time on the first mile to warm up. 

I only have four weeks of training left before race day. I decided this week to try to run the last mile of all my runs a little faster. I discovered I am pretty challenged trying to find a faster pace that feels sustainable, but doesn't make me gasp for air.  I am not sure how this is all going to turn out, but thank goodness I have a few more weeks to work on it :-)

I discovered I am pretty challenged trying to find a faster pace that feels sustainable, but doesn't make me gasp for air.  <--- is this just me? 
Speed work – more than one run a week or no?
What are your feelings about speed work?

Thanks for stopping by! I hope you have a wonderful weekend! 


  1. I'm with you. I love to hate speed work. I hate it while I'm doing it but feel so good afterwards. A sense of accomplishment.

    1. LOL, exactly! I am glad I pushed myself on this one. I really did have a hard time getting myself going!

  2. I do hate speedwork. But it's my favorite too. So yeah, right there with you. It made me a whole different runner when I added it in. Just once a week.

    1. I am trying to do all my runs with a strong last mile, but I wondered if I am zapping my legs too much. I managed a good last mile this morning, but I will take it easy next week if I need too :)

  3. Am I the only runner who doesn't hate speed work? I love the challenge of it and hitting paces I can't usually hit. It's so much more fun than plain vanilla easy runs. I would do speed work every day if it were physiologically possible!

    Don't stress about your consistency so much. Speed work is something that gets better with practice. The more you do those interval workouts, the more consistent your splits will start to become, as your body starts learning how to regulate the speed and starts memorizing paces.

    A good tip I use to help maintain harder paces is that I focus on regulating my breathing. Inhale 3 steps, exhale 2. The talk test is also good for any type of run. The rule of thumb for tempo runs is that you should be able to get out a few words at a time - nothing more and nothing less. It's awkward to do outside in public, but sometimes I'll make myself say brief sentences like "hey, how's it going?" or "great job out there!" If I can get out a few words and don't feel like I could keep talking, then it generally means I'm not going too fast or too slow.

    1. That is a good point Hanna, I know at a few points I could not have got a few words out, or decent breaths for that matter and I try to adjust my speed. It s funny how you feel slow when you ease up a bit, even though I am sure I am above my usual pace. I am all alone in the morning so I can talk out loud lol I just had not really though about doing it!
      You are such a speedster girl! It doesn't surprise me at all that you love speed work!

  4. I think speed work is great! It will help improve your running performance. Isn't great feeling challenged?

    1. It is really great to feel challenged! It does make me tired, but it is a good tired lol

  5. One speed session a week, that is what I have always been told! I think your bus loop dee doops are perfect! I have always found that it didn't matter what kind of speed work I did, as long as I did SOMETHING (no matter the distance) I got faster. I really believe that!! Want to run faster? Then run fast. I really don't think there is a magic formula for us un-elite runners.

    I like to look at my Garmin to make sure I am within RANGE of a sustainable pace. If I am a little too fast but it feels good, no big deal. If I am way too fast then I force myself to slow down. If I didn't have my Garmin to look at I don't know how I would gauge- I guess just by effort!

    1. That is good to know you are on board for one speed session too, Megan.
      I have not been checking my Garmin much lately when I am running, I just adjust based on how I feel, but over the next few weeks I will start looking at it more so I know what is actually doable :)
      I am glad to hear you say that about running faster! I have been in survival mode for so long trying to get through summer, I have felt very stuck at a 10:30ish pace (or lower) trying to pick it up feels like a big adjustment lol

  6. I like speed work, because it really adds variety to training, and it really helps. I like to do it on a treadmill, because I know what paces I am hitting. I would only do 1 workout a week. I alternate between speed work, and "pace runs". I have a hard time with the Garmin for speedwork on the track, but that is just me, not knowing how to use the technology correctly!!
    Good job!!

    1. I like that everyone is on board with one session a week :) I am feeling good about this. I confess I can not figure out how to work my buttons on my Garmin to time my laps lol I decided that is too much thinking at 5:30 a.m. anyway...
      Variety is good :)


I love hearing from you ❤