Need for Speed

The training plan I’m following for my upcoming half marathons (yes, that’s plural :)) incorporates some speed work and tempo runs. I haven’t done these while training for other races. Most of the other training plans I’ve done were at a beginner/novice level and focused more on straight mileage.

I started realizing over the last several weeks that I really look forward to the day when I get to do speed work. I wasn’t expecting to like it as much as I do! Early in the training, the speed work was 400m intervals, then progressed to 800m intervals, and then 1 mile intervals. The total mileage of these runs can be up to 6 miles. Doing 6 miles on a Tuesday night can feel a bit daunting, but I think the reason I like the speed work is the intervals break up the run.

Another thing I started realizing over the past several weeks is that it’s working. I’m getting faster! For a long time my comfortable pace was about 10 minute miles, but recently I’ve found myself running more and more miles under that pace.

Exhibit A5K PR

I not only beat my 5K time this fall, I crushed it! I was aiming for a PR, but had no idea I’d be able to shave minutes off my time, not just seconds.

Exhibit B – Ran another 5K averaging just over 9 min miles.

I was impressed that I not only maintained the pace, but was able to carry on a conversation with a friend while running. Pretty sure I would’ve been sucking wind running at that pace a year ago!

Exhibit C – My longer runs are getting faster

The last couple weeks that I’ve done my tempo runs have felt really good. I’ve been able to keep a pace under 10 min miles even after 4 or 5 miles.

Splits for recent tempo run - several miles under 10 min miles!
Splits for recent tempo run – several miles under 10 min miles!

It’s exciting to actually see some progress in my running that goes beyond just being able to run a certain distance.

Do you do speed work in your training? Do you find that it helps?

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3 thoughts on “Need for Speed

  1. I’m in the last of 12 weeks of my half marathon training and it was all about speed work and tempo runs! I really liked them as well, but when you see the workout on paper, I agree it’s daunting once you’ve figured out how long you’ll be running. It’s all worth it though, it makes us stronger runners! Next thing you know, your mile splits will start with 8 instead of 9 😉

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