Thursday, June 24, 2010

I {heart} Speedwork!

Yes, you read that correctly, I love speedwork! Up until now, you might have been able to pass me off as just a little nutty, but that phrase sits me squarely in the bat-crap crazy category. It's okay, I already knew.


I woke up this morning to much cooler temps - hallelujah! - and I thought to myself that it seemed like a good day for speedwork. Well, it is Thursday after all, and Thursday = speedwork, or at least it used to. On my marathon and half marathon training plans (which accounted for almost all of my training in the last year), Thursday's workout was either speedwork or a tempo run. My current triathlon plan doesn't include any effort-based running, because the run portion of the race is only three miles long and I really felt like I needed to concentrate on my biking and swimming skills (or lack thereof). This means I haven't done any speedwork of any kind for about three months - yikes!


I pre-program my speeds and distances into my Garmin so I can do speedwork on my regular running routes. I'm not a big fan of running around a track. Today's workout was 5 miles total distance with a 1.5 mile warm-up, 2 x 1 mile repeats @ 7:40 pace with .5 mile recovery, and 1 mile cool-down. When I set the repeats, I really debated if 7:40 was too aggressive, but thought I would give it a go anyway.


As I set off from my house, I turned directly into a headwind. Not much, maybe 8 mph, but enough that I felt like it was work, and wouldn't you know it, here came my old arch-nemesis, Creeping Doubt. I hear Creeping Doubt in my head somewhat frequently on my runs. Some days he's just a shadow flitting through quickly, and other days he'll stick around long enough to make a snarky comment or two. Well, today he brought his luggage and moved in with his cousins Nagging Worry and Mom Guilt. Ugh!


I struggled through the 1.5 mile warm-up, listening to his chatter: You'll never be able to run that fast. You've just been lucky before. You'll always be slow. You'll never make Boston because you're just not good enough. He's a mean little sucker, and he knows exactly what to say to make me feel bad.


But then something awesome happened: my Garmin beeped, telling me it's time to hit my first repeat. Like Pavlovian dogs, my legs started to FLY and we left Creeping Doubt in the dust! Oh, sure, I had to walk a little on the recovery to catch my breath, but then Garmin beeped again and there was nothing to do but run.


So, here's what I really love about speedwork: hitting your goal time makes you feel like you've accomplished something amazing. It is real, quantifiable proof that you can run even faster than you think (even if it's only for a short distance). Speedwork makes you feel like this:

Final stats: 1.5 mile warm-up @ 8:03, 1 mile @ 7:10 (!!!!!), .5 mile recovery @ 8:54, 1 mile @ 7:16 (again with the !!!!!), 1 mile cool-down @ 8:14, 5 miles total @ 7:50 average pace.

What's your relationship with speedwork? Love it, Hate it, or "It's Complicated"??

9 comments:

Julie said...

Awesome job on your speed workout! I actually like doing the speed workouts too! Sadly, I have not been able to run on a real track in some time. I am missing the track and need to find a way to bust out some speed training too:) If I had a few speed workouts maybe I could get my darn half marathon time down a few minutes;) Take care!

Michelle said...

Wow! SPEEDY! Great job.

Java Joggers said...

It's complicated (much like my Garmin)... I really need to sit down with my instruction manual and learn how to use all of those cool features. Then I wouldn't have to rely on the track for speedwork days. Great job, BTW...

ajh said...

Absolutely hate it!

Candice @ I Have Run said...

I love, love, love it. It is always my favorite run of the week!

Way to go on the mile repeats!!

Average A said...

Oh yeah. I am totally sleeping in my MM shirt tonight. :) I don't want to wear it out though, so after today it'll strictly be for races. :)

P, you definitely need need to spread some of your speedwork love to me... (and some of your speed -- holy cow, Zippy!) I was just thinking about how I focused solely on adding distance and have done NO speedwork in the past FOUR MONTHSSSSS. boooo.

need to get back on that train and come up with some new goals that involve running a little quicker...

xoxo
A

Regina said...

I know Creeping Doubt, he's a, well, you know...

You are a fast runner...I am officially jealous!

Heather said...

Great job on the speedwork! I love speedwork too, although mile repeats are my least fave. I love, love, love 800's.

wendy_kresha@charter.net said...

Awesome! I have come to really love speedwork, mainly because I am seeing the payoff : )