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 A – 5K 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.
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?