Back In My Groove

About a week and a half ago I started to add speed training to my half marathon training and I can already feel the difference. I am back in my groove and really enjoying my runs again! I have gradually been increasing my mileage since taking time off due to issues with a previous hip injury.

Coming back from an injury can be frustrating when even short runs seem to be a struggle. I have found it really is a mental thing and I have fight the temptation to skip a run just because it is hard. Speed training has been essential for me to get over this mental hurdle. Speed training has taught me that it is okay for a workout to be hard – in fact, that’s the point! If any of you watch The Biggest Loser, then you probably feel the same way as I do about Tracey. But last week in her video from home, her husband said something that I loved – “Pain is temporary, pride’s forever”. I think this quote is great – gotta love the military and their motivational quotes! The only good thing to come out oAfter just 5 speed sessions, when I go out on short 3 or 4 mile normal runs, it feels so much easier and my normal paces is picking back up.

I have to remind myself that every day I get on the road, it will get easier and easier until I am back to my old self. And every time I feel my heart is going to beat out of my chest when I finish a set of 800 repeats, I am making those long runs that much easier on myself. This weekend I have my first double digit run since my last half marathon in April, so that will be the true test.

I try to do speed work once a week. The key is to make speed work fun. Make a game out of it. Here are some speed workouts that I like:

On-and-Off 1000s
In this workout, you run five 200s, starting and finishing with mile-race-pace 200s, and alternating with 200s 10 seconds slower. If you decide to do more than one set, take a 2:30-to three-minute jog recovery between each.

Tempo – Mile Repeats
2-6 one mile repeats at tempo pace (about half-marathon pace, or 5-K pace plus 30 to 40 seconds) with a 60-second rest between intervals. Newer runners may take a two-to three-minute walk break; the goal is to run each mile at close to the same pace.

800 repeats
Run 4 to 6- x 800-meter repeats at 5-K race pace, with 2:30 recovery.

A Swedish term that means “speed play.” In this workout, you choose when to pick up the pace and when to rest. To start, run faster for 10 to 30 seconds, then ease back into a jog for 30 to 60 seconds. This is great to incorporate into any run on the road.

Hill Repeats
Pick a hill with a gentle slope–one that takes 30 to 60 steps to get from the bottom to the top. Start by jogging up the hill, and quicken your steps as you move up it and ease over the top. Keep your feet close to the ground so that it feels like you’re making fast baby steps. Walk down the hill to recover.

Some tips to keep in mind:
1. Do speedwork once a week.
2. Warm up well for each workout, with three to five minutes of walking and 10 minutes of slow jogging and walking.
3. Rest between each segment.
4. Never do speedwork (or any training) when you have pain or swelling in your feet or legs.
5. Never run all out. Your speedwork should feel fast but sustainable. If you’re in pain or struggling to maintain form, bring it down a notch.


2 thoughts on “Back In My Groove

  1. Bridgette says:

    Something I have added to my training is progression runs. I do this with my long runs as well as alternate it with some tempos. Start out slower than race pace, say for a 8 mile run) and finish at your goal pace. This simulates what it will feel like to finish at your goal pace. Also, you start so slow that you are ready to surge by the end.

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