Thursday, August 18, 2016

Speed work, I have missed you.

This place.

It's not sarcasm! I really have!

Something I love about distance running is the periodic nature of training cycles. After giving 110% at a target race, it's so nice to have a week off, followed often by a chunk of easy base training. I like training for races, but there's something very calming about having some time away from that where all I have to do is come home from work, throw on running clothes, grab my watch, & turn my brain off while I log mile after mile of relaxed, easy running. Inevitably, though, I start to get a little bored with the same-ol', same-ol', & find myself longing for faster paces and the sensation of zooming around the curves at the track; before you know it, I'm eagerly counting down days until my first speed workout of the next cycle.

And, full disclosure, I usually also have some butterflies about going back to those fast workouts, too. I always wonder whether I'll be able to hit the same paces as before, and how hard it will feel after a couple of months of hanging out in zone 2, and how my injury-prone body will acclimate to the added strain. I have always been more of a 5K-10K runner than a marathoner, though, so for the most part, knowing it's almost time to get back out on the track gets me excited.

This past Tuesday evening was my first speed session since April, with ten 600m repeats / 200m jogs on tap. The goal was 2:38 for each interval (7:05 pace), and I was curious to see just how easy or hard that felt after such a long break from fast running. Happily, they really didn't feel very hard at all, and I easily kept them between 2:33 & 2:37 (~6:45 pace on average).

  • Lap 1 - 2:35
  • Lap 2 - 2:35
  • Lap 3 - 2:34
  • Lap 4 - 2:33
  • Lap 5 - 2:36
  • Lap 6 - 2:34
  • Lap 7 - 2:37
  • Lap 8 - 2:33
  • Lap 9 - 2:36
  • Lap 10 - 2:33

Something that I've noticed about going back to the track after a chunk of base training is how, although it doesn't necessarily make the pace feel any easier, it's kind of dramatic how much easier it feels to do a longer speed session (9 miles in this case) and feel almost as good by the end as I did at the start. In addition to hitting the pace with no problem all the way to the end, I also did the whole thing start to finish with no pauses or breaks. (Sometimes I end up stopping once or twice for water but I am trying to get out of the habit of that whenever possible.)

Up next: Tempo run #1 on Friday!


  1. Hope your tempo goes better than mine, which was a total flop today.

  2. 10 x 600 sounds like a pretty intense workout. It sounds even harder when you say that this is your first speed work session since April. Great pacing BTW.

  3. Yes to all of this!! This week I did my first speed sessions (track sesh and tempo run) after 8 weeks of 'jogging' and it felt so good to push myself again.