Monday, 20 October 2008

Speed demon

A week and a half ago I did a speedwork session. On the schedule was 3 x 1600 m at 9:45 pace. Before setting out, I decided to change the session to 6 x 800 m at 4:39 to 4:52 pace (an appropriate time range according to the McMillan running calculator). The mile speed run always seems daunting to me, so I thought cutting them in half would help.

The times I clocked for the first two 800 m were unexpected. At this point, I decided to scrap the last four 800 m and instead run two 1600 m as I was curious what times I would get. Here they are:

800 m – 3:59
800 m – 4:09
1600 m – 8:51
1600 m – 8:36

Um, yeah. What happened here?

I recalculated the distance of the pseudo-track I’ve been using and realized it may be off by 0.01 mile (so 0.24 mile instead of 0.25). This weekend I made sure to add the appropriate distance to the end of each interval (two fence posts per lap). I intended to follow the previous week’s session of 2 x 800 m and 2 x 1600 m, but I had a weak mental moment on the third run so in all it ended up being one 1600 m and 4 x 800 m. Hope that makes sense.

Ok, so here are the times:

800 m – 3:47
800 m – 3:53
800 m – 4:08
1600 m – 8:37
800 m – 4:05

Yeah, I still don’t get it. I’m slower than molasses during all my medium and long runs, but apparently I’m a little speed demon (relative, of course) for short distances. Hell, I didn’t even think I was capable of running a sub-9 minute mile without risking cardiac arrest.

As of now I’ve made the executive decision to modify the rest of my training schedule. It’s currently set up to have one easy run, one speed or tempo run and one LSD per week. From here on out, I’ll be using a more FIRST-like approach and changing the easy run to another speed or tempo session, depending on whatever is already scheduled for that week.

My crazy speed session times were not the only reason for this decision. I hate to admit it, but I was actually influenced by a comment Vanilla made in his Runners’ Lounge Open Mic interview. He said, ‘I’m in ‘like’ with running, I’m in love with better results.’ I can completely identify with this. Mentally, I grumble and bitch through the entirety of the speed sessions, but I absolutely love the numbers I get and I really want to keep improving. When spring time rolls around and the shorter distances races crop up again, I want to smash my 5K and 10K PRs and I know doing speedwork is the only way I’m going to achieve that goal.

If you all have any advice you want to throw my way about any of this, please feel free. I’d love to know what you think.

Have a great week, everyone.

P.S.--Jenn at Getting Fit and Loving It is running a 21-day habit changing/forming challenge. Entry deadline is today by 11:59 pm EST. I've signed up to do two things: (1) not eat chocolate and (2) keep up with my language study. You may notice a gradual increase in irritability in my posts over the next three weeks. That would be the result of Habit Goal #1. Just FYI. Come on, lemmings, go sign up. Why wait till January 1st to torture yourself? Start now! :)


Crabby McSlacker said...

Ooh, you ARE speedy! (And love the pic, I want one of those for my garden!)

Brooke said...

awesome job! Isn't it amazing as you improve that you don't even notice getting faster? I can go out sometimes thinking, 'man, I'm so slow today!' and then be surprised...the subtle improvements over time are the best!

Marcy said...

Yeah I hear you. Why can't I just run 5:30 min/mi with no work involved? ROFLMAO!

Those are some nice digits chica! You're well on your way to smashing some PRs :-)

Ms. V. said...

Speedwork bites.


Girl on Top said...

Great job!

I suggest running intervals with a friend who is slightly (and I mean just slightly) faster than you. It will push you to go faster. If you choose a friend who is a lot faster, that will just kill you.

Great job again!

Jenn said...

Thanks for the shout out about my contest! I can't believe how many people are signing up. I am so excited to see how everyone does, especially you and Brooke. Giving up candy and chocolate is something that I think I could not do. However it may end up on a future 21 Day Challenge. Who knows!


tfh said...

Wow, you REALLY underestimated your speed! I hate speed sessions and don't think I could do FIRST for that reason, but they are confidence boosting and plus there is nothing more gratifying than knocking even five seconds off my LSD mile pace.

So: not to be a bad influence, but how are you going to reward yourself for all that speedwork now that chocolate's off-limits?

Frayed Laces said...

I definitely think you can be a little faster of your longer runs. I hate SOS (Sucky Ol Speedwork) and would trade an 18 miler for a 6 mile SOS anyday. But, I know they are the key to making me faster. Good luck speed demon!

Jess said...

Wow awesome job on the speedwork! Those are some great times!

Roisin said...

I love/hate speedwork too, but yeah, you DO get results from it, as you can see.

I'm not sure what I'd like to change for 21 days. Considering the amount of alcohol that I won on Saturday night, I don't think that'll be it. Yet. There's always Lent!

Jamie said...

Fantastic speedwork! Don't worry you will soon be seeing improvement in your LR times soon.

Nitmos said...

That speed work will translate to your long runs naturally. Don't be afraid of it. Just be smart and know when to push and when not to so you stay nice and healthy...and fast.

P.O.M. said...

Some wise person once told me the only way to get faster is to train faster. Damn him. I want to get faster by drinking martinis and snuggling on the couch.

Meg said...

Nice job on the paces!! That's really exciting. Isn't it great to surprise yourself?
I have always heard that to get faster you have to train faster, I guess if you just keep adding longer distances your endurance will increase, but your body won't know what that faster pace feels like until you force it to.

The Laminator said...

Hi Xenia...

Great paces. My bit of advice is to build your endurance first. When you can pull out those five or six milers without much difficulty...than the one mile speedwork splits won't seem as tough. Good luck.

Reid said...

I may sound crazy, but I love speedwork! And those are some speedy times. Way to go! After my mile training this summer, I was worried that I wouldn't have any endurance. I was so surprised that I was able to easily crank out some longer runs. I started out conservatively and found that the speed was there. I think your training will continue to improve with your revised plans. Keep at it, and you'll get to where you want to be.

Viper said...

Don't listen to these fools. You're still slow.