Posts Tagged ‘speedwork’

Quick one, this time.

A little late on last week’s post…my fault.

Little early with this week’s post … not necessarily my fault.

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Apparently, it’s about to go down.


Good news first

Having a blast running. I mean, not just getting fitter and stronger, but really enjoying it. To the point where I can’t get wait to get outside everyday. Two-a-days no problem. I say this to say, when you find something you like, you gotta stick with it. Because passion’s hard to come across. At least for me. Not gonna preach more than that.


Waiting game

Two hurricanes (Iselle and Julio) are moving west towards the islands. Hoping that nothing comes of it. No one needs that kind of drama. At minimum we should get a lot of wind and rain. That said, best to prepare, right? Flashlights. Water. Food. First Aid. Check….No running. Check-minus. I see a lot of fitness memes out there lately about squats (“He squats”, “She squats”). About to become my go-to exercise.


Still Positive

Tough to plan the rest of the summer going forward, but I feel confident that I’m in sub-20 5K shape. Confidence and speed comes with the speedwork sessions during the week. Going to get inside today and wait these out.


Tracking Goals:

I’d be happy in August if the following occurred:

  1. Hit 48 miles in a week in late July-August. [This would have been the 48-mile week. Not going to happen. Oh well.].
  2. Avoid injury, particularly of the foot and knee variety. [Biggest success of the season, so far. Lots of runs, little pain.]
  3. Drop weight. [Down a couple pounds from the beginning of the season. Not bad. Will probably be down a bit over the weekend.]
  4. Increase pace on easy runs, gradually. [Good success here as well. Put in 3 miles at about 6:30 pace on Wednesday afternoon ]
  5. Run increasingly faster in three 5K races. [One race. Next Saturday. Maybe.]



Workout: Warm [1 mi.], 8x400m @ 1:18-1:22 w/ 200 jog, Cool [1 mi.] Weather: 73 degrees, sunny, windy.

Recap: Fun, but challenging.

Got a couple hunches about this 5K deal thanks to a lot of positive comments after the last run. With that in mind, I’d like to have a little more fun for the next couple of weeks. Fast fun. See where it takes me.

The first step for me was re-conceptualizing what a workout is. Today was about running fast then slow then fast again…8 times. Nothing more. Kind of like being a kid out there to be honest. Stop and go kind of game. Got the heart rate up where I wanted it. It’s all good. On to Saturday’s long run.

All  reps:  1:20 or 1:21

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Workout: Warm [1.25 mi.], 2×800 @ 2:41 w/ 400 jog  Weather: 75 degrees, sunny.

Recap: Not good.

Didn’t bring the stuff out there today. No real mystery. Gotta eat. One of the most frustrating things about training is the constant need for fuel. When I slack on my carbs, fluids, protein…bad stuff predictably follows. Also didn’t do the regular easy run yesterday either. Actually got off to a decent start today, but I wasn’t feeling it. Experimented with keeping my arms high as well. I’ve had some success (fun) swinging low, but I want to give ostrich-style another chance during a meaningful run. See what goes on Saturday.

Rep 1:  2:40

Rep 2:  2:43

Bad runs ain’t the end of the world. Gonna do it right in the kitchen and come back to finish the week. 5K goal still in sight.

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Workout: Warm [1.25 mi.], 6×800 @ 2:41 w/ 400 jog, Cool [1.25 mi.], Drills  Weather: 52 degrees, sunny.

Recap: Hoorah.

No drama necessary. I asked for better weather, and I got it. 50 degrees. Sunshine. Showtime.

After Tuesday’s successful tempo run, I decided to try running the speedwork in the regular training shoes as well. I haven’t completed a full speedwork session in three weeks (Sept. 24), but I wanted to have some success today. Made sure to get the 16 oz. of water in before heading out the door.

Started right into the first 800m repetition after the 1.25-mile warmup. No drinks. No waiting around. The benefits of running tall this week were apparent immediately. My posture was better, calves were engaged, and stride turnover had improved. Didn’t have to stride out (long) like I’d be doing in the past. Didn’t even focus on the usual back swing. For the first time in this training schedule, I felt like maybe this pace is something I could eventually hold onto for a full 5K. The first three 800m repetitions were medium-hard, about a 6.5 out of 10 on the pain scale. Figured that I was a couple seconds behind pace and needed to pick it up to average the planned 2:41 for the workout.

Knew after the fourth repetition that I’d be able to finish. The only question was how tough was it going to be. For the fifth 800m,  held form and kept the posture upright – hoping to preserve my legs for the last rep. Finally, abandoned all form and just used my stride on the 6th rep – never really checking the watch for pace.

Rep 1:  2:42

Rep 2:  2:42

Rep 3:  2:41

Rep 4:  2:39

Rep 5:  2:38

Rep 6:  2:36

Averaged 2:40 for the entire workout, which is a personal best for 6x800m! In the heavy training shoes at that! Huge confidence builder. Should be on schedule towards running that 17:24 5K in December. My previous best workout was over two years ago, completing a 5x800m averaging 2:41 with racing flats on. Three weeks later, I finished a 5K in 17:44.

Speaking of personal bests there’s still that weekly mileage thing going. With the 9-miler yesterday and the today’s run that brings me to 32 on the week. Looks like the weather will cooperate.

22 to go.

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Workout: Warm [1.25 mi.], 3×800 @ 2:44 w/ 400 jog Weather: 75 degrees, partly cloudy.

Recap: Stopped halfway through.

It was a nice run, that is, a nice stretch of successful runs, but suppose everything comes to an end. Pretty much the same workout as last week, except I added 0.5-mile extra of warm-up.  Plan was 6×800 at the same pace. The idea with repeating workouts is to own the pace. Should start to feel a little more comfortable.

A little muggy out there (90% humidity). Still, the warm-up went well to be honest. The first rep was a little more work than I thought it should be. Second rep was even harder. After the third rep, I decided to back out. HR hadn’t maxed out by any means (185 bpm at the end of the third rep), and I probably could have finished the workout with a great effort. The idea for me though is that these workouts are supposed to feel easier over time. If something’s more difficult this week than last, then I’m better off resting. I think.

Rep 1: 2:43

Rep 2: 2:45

Rep 3: 2:45

Quitting isn’t great mental training – no doubt. But I’m more interested in staying healthy. Not changing any plans. 8 miles easy tomorrow and the 12 mile long run on Saturday. See if I can limit the damage to today.

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Workout: Warm [0.75 mi.], 6×800 @ 2:44 w/ 400 jog, Cool [0.75 mi.], Drills  Weather: 72 degrees, dark.

Recap: Rolling…along…smoothly.

Getting darker out there, folks. Run started under moonlight high in the sky and ended with the sunrise just over the trees. Life at 6:30 a.m. Not really afraid of it getting colder either. Probably will regret saying that in late November. So…same workout as last week. 6x800m. Same goal times, except a slightly faster warmup – hardly perceptible. What do you do when you plan two of the same workouts in back-to-back weeks? You messed with yourself. You play games. You make sure that this is a workout that you own, and aren’t just completing it by luck, happenstance, etc…

I did three things to make this workout a little tougher than last week:

1. No sugar drinks to help. That’s right. No carb intake before or during the workout. See if the body handles this without the super juice.

2. In fact, hold up on the water altogether. Last week, I was drinking something after every 800m repetition. Stomach didn’t like it either. This week? Only at the beginning, after the 3rd rep, and after the workout. You don’t get to drink during a 5K race. Why practice it?

3. Play some of the slowest, saddest, most depressing music in the arsenal. None of that hip-hop, 80’s go-go (sorry, Wham! and Rick Astley get it going for me), upbeat stuff. Just reflective stuff designed to put me to sleep.  Jim Croce, Bill Withers and this right here….


Got to the park, saw the stain on on the ground in the parking lot where the dog poop was. The poop I stepped in last week. But alas, no poop this week. A good sign. Had a tougher time warming up this morning, no doubt thanks in part to the bedtime music flowing in my ears. Got through the 0.75-mile warmup and picked up where I left off last week. My cues for this workout were to get off to a faster start than last week, that is stay at 2:44 pace for each 800m repetition, and relax. Yes, relax. You own this workout now. Don’t go straining like you need a miracle. Supposed to be comfortable enough to run this pace for a 5K in December. So chill.

I always talk about the point where I know I’m going to finish a faster, tougher workout. Today, that came after the 3rd repetition, but I should have known from the start. Remembered to kick back smoothly, breath at the start of the reps and coast to the finish. Most of the starts were too fast for the first 400m, and I had to back down to finish.  Everything was smooth, and I had a lot left in the tank at the end of the 5th rep.

Rep 1: 2:44

Rep 2: 2:44

Rep 3: 2:43

Rep 4: 2:44

Rep 5: 2:44

One more to go. Crank it. Yeah. Forget about control for just a moment. Yeah, I know what I wrote last time. Let’s see what’s under the hood. When you have one of those fast starts, just keep pushing it to the end.

Rep 6: 2:31

Awesome! Improvement. Fastest 800m repetition I’ve ever done. Averaged just under 2:42 for the whole thing. You know, for a moment there in the summer, running was pretty tough. But right now, these workouts are the best thing going. Need to keep putting in the long slow mileage on those off days. Gonna hit the slow stuff again tomorrow and see where this all ends.

Thanks for reading!

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Workout: Warm [0.75 mi.], 6×800 @ 2:44 w/ 400 jog, Cool [0.75 mi.], Drills  Weather: 81 degrees, partly cloudy, dark.

Recap: Yeah, buddy!

Up at 6 a.m. for this one. A lot of back and forth in my head over whether to do it early or late, at the track or at the park. Eventually, early and at the park won out. Following a suggestion from another blog, I decided to use the Garmin intervals feature to make a 6 x 0.5-mile workout with 0.25-mile jogging rest in between. That matches up pretty closely with the 6x800m at the track. In fact, it was a little harder because the park has a concrete surface instead of the soft track; I couldn’t wear my spikes and there’s a small hill in the route. Accordingly, I told myself to aim for 2:50 pace instead of 2:44 to allow for some delay. Plus, it was morning time, and I didn’t know if I could generate enough power just after getting out of bed.

After driving to the park in the dark, I opened the car door and immediately stepped in dog poop in the parking lot. Fortunately, I brought my road racers to do the workout, so I was able to change shoes. I threw regulars in the trunk…because they were stinky. Only later did I find out that the poop had somehow made its way to my longer shorts, which I left on the passenger seat. 😦 After a short warmup and sip of the Lemon Lime Kool-Aid, the workout began.

Rep 1: 2:49

Rep 2: 2:46

Rep 3: 2:45

Rep 4: 2:42

Rep 5: 2:41

Rep 6: 2:38

Yep. Negative splits – every repetition faster than the one before. For a distance slightly longer than 800m, at the park. Now, I’m grateful that this run didn’t happen in 90+ degrees like in the past, but I still think it’s a better effort than previous weeks. After the first repetition, I thought 2:50 was a good goal. And I kept waiting to hit the wall and quit because of all the things that could go wrong at the park. But it never happened. The first 0.25 mile of every rep seemed to fly by, and then all I had to do was focus on finishing. Form wise, I tried to be relaxed with a big back kick and relaxed arms…like Bekele and Farah at the Great North Run recently (They’re sooo fast). Also, I always like to remember the moment where I knew I would finish a tough workout. For me, it was the beginning of the 5th rep. I’d done 4×800 last week, so I knew that much would be possible. But when I wasn’t laboring on the 5th, I felt I had it. For the last 800m today, I just wanted to crack 2:40 again. Great day.

Really starting to think that the slow stuff is behind all of this.  Tomorrow, 7 miles easy at 150 bpm, hopefully faster the 9:36 pace on Wednesday. Then, on Saturday, the long run – 10 miles @ 7:49…still working towards that 18 miles @ 7:02 pace in December.

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