Showing posts with label fartlek. Show all posts
Showing posts with label fartlek. Show all posts

Friday, March 28, 2014

Barely okay, but better than the last one

Ready for some speed play
Today's run (street): 3.4 miles

My definition of an okay run has changed a lot in the last couple of weeks. If not for the intervals I ran on Tuesday, I'd be convinced that I've lost my ability to run at any speed but tepid. Wednesday was a difficult experience, made worse by the wind. I did manage to get through my five miles that day, but it was rough. I hoped today's three miles would be easier, and they were. It was...okay.

The warmer temperature this morning seemed to help, and I improved my pace by over a minute compared to Wednesday's. I was supposed to do today's workout at half marathon race pace, but I fell short by about 35 seconds per mile. In truth, I wasn't going for speed as prescribed, I really just hoped to have a decent experience.

I think about my friends who frequently run long distances at paces that I cannot match (except when I'm running 400's and, in some cases, 200's). Are they working that much harder than me? Probably, but I suspect it also has to do with being better disciplined about their workouts and putting in the necessary miles. I understand that running 18 to 20 miles a week is not going to build enough endurance get me to a competitive state, but I don't think I can fit many more into my schedule.

I knew I wasn't pushing as hard as I could today, but it wasn't a leisurely effort. There's a certain amount of energy that I'm willing to expend during a race that I seldom bring to my daily workouts. I'm always concerned about running out of energy on a training run and I tend to hold back to conserve what I have. Tomorrow I plan to add some fartleks (Swedish for "speed play") to introduce interval level running into a continuous run. If I run out of energy, I can always take down the pace. Or take a recovery rest on the sidewalk.

Friday, March 2, 2012

Teaching your body to go fast

Today's run (street): 2.5 miles

"The idea is to teach your body to go faster than it wants to." That was a comment from Emerging Runner friend Paul regarding interval training. I reread that sentence three times because I thought it was a perfect way to describe the concept of speed work. It sounds simple, but it's not. Making your body go faster than it wants to go is hard. But when you do, it (almost) always pays off.

I thought about Paul's comment during my run this morning. Usually at 4:00 AM I feel heroic, simply because I've dragged myself out of bed and hit the road in the darkness and the cold. Performance is secondary and my expectations are low, because I'm usually half asleep through the first mile. Today I played a little with my speed once I felt fully alert. I'd pick a spot a few hundred feet ahead and increase my pace until I reached my target. I was curious to see if these fartleks would translate into a performance improvement.

It turned out they did. Today's run finished 1: 10 sooner than Tuesday's although I followed the same route at the exact same time in the morning. It was a difference of 26 seconds per mile. I'll take half minute per mile improvements any day, but my overall pace was still in the low 9:00's. That sleepy first mile always throws me off. I guess that's as fast as my body was willing to go this morning.

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