Wednesday, October 2, 2013

The need for speed

Oh look, it's another post about running and fitness today.  It's important to me, which probably explains it.  Today I'm linking up with one of the rockstars of fitness blogging, Skinny Meg for Workout Wednesday.


Some people who link up for this every week are ultra creative and great at making things, so they share the prettiest, most challenging "pin it to your workout board on pinterest and then never EVER under any circumstances do it" workouts.  I seriously love reading through them, pinning them, and then chickening out of doing them at the last minute.

I am not creative, and I follow the Revolt Now! workouts for my strength training.  Nichole has the best workouts, and I just can't find anything that works better for me, so I don't try to re-invent the wheel.  Instead, I want to talk about speed work at the track.

Speed work is something that I just started doing, because all too often as a new runner I have heard that it's only necessary for someone who is an intermediate to advanced runner.  That never really made sense to me, as anaerobic intervals followed by active recovery provide greater fitness benefits to ALL people, regardless of fitness level, than a sustained moderate effort does.  That's the basis behind so many workout plans, including weight lifting circuits, Crossfit, Couch 2 5k, Tabatas, etc.  Yet why are newbie runners told to go out and slog through, run slow, and do their best???  It baffles me.

Since I am in another training cycle for the Shiner Been Run on November 23, I decided to add in 1 day of speed work each week.  I read up on Yasso 800's, but decided that I wanted to work with 400 meter intervals, since I was new to speed work, and in general, I'm a pretty dang slow runner.  However, I am following Yasso's advice of starting with 3-4 intervals (eventually building to 10!), with a 400m active recovery between each interval.  What I like about this process is that you work really hard for a couple of minutes, but instead of stopping dead right after, you still have to move while you recover.  I remember back when I was in school for Exercise Science hearing that active recovery is the most important aspect of any interval training program, because that is what teaches your body to be more efficient to recover more quickly, which in turn is what increases your overall stamina.

Last night was week 2 of 400 training for me, and I was able to be really consistent with my efforts, yielding splits of 2:03, 2:09, 2:05, and 2:09 for my hard intervals.  My first 3 recovery intervals were all around a 3:16, with my last at 4:30-ish (hello walking!!!!).  I was pretty gassed by the time that last recovery lap came up, and I needed to jog another half mile after my last interval, so I totally fell apart.  However, when I saw my overall time for my 3 mile workout, I was pretty stoked.

We have another 5k on the 12th of this month, and I'm using that to predict my time and my pace for the half.  So to see that I had a decent time for 3 miles, even with over 4 minutes of walking, I got excited!

Do you run intervals or incorporate interval training into your workouts?


  1. Great post. Reading it makes me feel less alone, as a former new runner (recently a quitter) and hopefully soon-to-be new runner again! You're quite a bit ahead of me, but I think it's great advice for my fitness future!

  2. Interval training and running is amazing and has really helped me improve my speed. I was always a slow jogger in my training runs and now that I have started doing speed work and sprint training, not only has my overall fitness and endurance increased, I have gotten faster!!

  3. Interval training is where it's at!!!


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