Anyone who has picked up a copy of Runner's World magazine has seen training plans that reference training plans that include some form of speed training. One popular form of speed drill include 200m-400m repeats, run at top speed with recovery or walking breaks in between. There are varying opinions about the speed at which you run (all-out, 80% of maximum etc) and the number of repeats but to me the biggest question is this: Why the hell am I doing this in the first place?
In other words, if I want to run a 1/2 marathon do I really need to concentrate on speed training?
Let me preface all of this by saying that like so many of you, my time is precious to me. Between working a full-time job, teaching a couple fitness class a week, training for a few races, maintaining relationships with The Boyfriend, friends and family and me time I really don't have time to waste on unnecessary training rituals.
That being said, I am incorporating speed training into my routine. Why? One main reason is that according to my research speed training improves VO2 max, which essentially allows my muscles to receive oxygen at a more optimal rate and that those muscles will become more efficient with converting that oxygen to aerobic energy. It also helps improve power, running economy and stride frequency. I like the sounds of all that! While I can say with relative certainty I am never going to break any records or win any major races, getting to the finish line stronger and is less time is a huge goal for me. If speed training can help me get there, I am all over it!
Speed training is definitely not easy. In fact I might go so far as to say that its really, REALLY tough, but tough in that "I just pushed myself to my limit" kind of way that leaves you satisfied and drench in a pool of sweat.
Whoo baby! That's a red face and a whole lotta stinky sweat (well hopefully the "lotta" only applies to the sweat part and not the stink...I'm under the impression I keep the stink to somewhat of a minimum.*gulp*)
Speed of 9:30 per mile*
2 minute walking breaks in between in each mile
3 miles total running
3.75 miles total distance
*9:30/mile is challenging but sustainable for this distance.
The plan is to vary the speed sessions every other week, which will hopefully help me PR in May.
In May you ask? Yes, May at the Mississauga 1/2 Marathon, which I officially registered for that week. It''s all real now baby!!
If you live in or near Toronto you should definitely sign up for this race and then we can all have a stinky sweaty lunch afterwards.
I'll race ya to the start line....
So tell me, any advice for increasing speed in distance running? Do you read Runner's World or any other fitness/health magazines?
Source: Runner's World- Speed- Form Training
Source: Copacabana Runners- Speed Training for Distance Runners