Wednesday, March 6, 2013

Speed Weeks

In keeping with my “train fast to race fast” plan, over the last 4 weeks I have been doing a couple “up-tempo” training runs per week. During that time I have run an average of 52 miles per week which is down 10 mpw from this time last year. Less miles but more intensity. Here’s a quick summary on how things have gone:

Date   Workout        Pace   Notes__________________    

2/5       4 x 1200         5:52    1st track w.o. since Oct and felt like it.

2/7       6m Tempo     6:10    Pleasantly surprised with this one.

2/12    4 x 1600         5:45    Easier than I thought it would be.

2/14    8m @ MP       6:45    A bit too fast but felt real easy.

2/19    6 x 800           5:36    This one hurt - a lot. Short rest.

2/24    10m Race      6:32    A bit slower than I wanted. Hilly.

2/28    8m @ MP       6:40    Unplanned but went with the flow.

3/3       5k Race          5:51    Fastest 5k in 4 years. 4th Place.

3/6       6m Tempo     6:08    Windy. Earned every sec. of this PR.

So what conclusions can I draw from this small, month-long, sample size? Has it helped me get any faster? I’m not really sure. I certainly hope so. But, it does seem like a lot of trouble to improve by a measly 2 seconds per mile on a 6 mile tempo run. The good news is that I know it hasn’t hurt. Other than a few of the normal aches and pains, things seem to holding together pretty well. At the very least, I can use these as a base line to compare to future speed work. But the big question is: Will all this hard work pave the way for a new Half Marathon PR at New Bedford in less than two weeks? Only times will tell.


  1. If you're body is responding well, I can't imagine it NOT being helpful. Though I have read (either in Lore of Running or Hudson's Run Faster) that as we get older pace specific training becomes much more important in training and getting faster. It pointed out that young people can get faster pretty much running any random workout fast and/or adding more weekly miles, but that doesn't work with us old folks. ;)

    1. What works for me is chipping way from different angles rather than drilling down from just one. Sculptor vs. Miner, I suppose. I do run "race specific" paces but I also run longer at a slower pace and shorter at a faster pace to avoid getting stale. Notice that if you add up the total time of the workouts listed above and divide it by the total miles you'll come up with 6:18 min/mile. Which is my goal pace for New Bedford. :)

    2. Actually, I do similar things. I find my body gets accustom to the same workouts, so I have to change them. Often I run completely different workouts, but I aim for 10 miles right around HMP, but one week it might be a 4 mile tempo with the rest at MP, or 6 x 1 mile repeats, or 3 x 15 min at 10K pace. At the end of the 10 miles it's always near my HMP, but it's always different...