I’ve never understood ‘speed work’.  I never really cared to do speed work. 
I was TERRIFIED of going to a high school track… by myself… to run. Not because I was afraid someone would ‘get me’ – I was afraid of looking stupid.  (I’m not what they call a graceful runner….)
And honestly – I just really didn’t think it made a hill of beans to even do ‘speed work’.

Well……… guess I was wrong.  2 out of 2 books I’ve read recently (um, can you tell how proud I am??) encouraged speed work.  Like enough to write full chapters on it.  Ok – it MUST be important.  After the RLAM mamas enforced what JG was saying – I was psyched up to hit the track.  I want to get faster.  I feel like I’ve successfully run a 5k, 10k, 15k and Half Marathon – now I want to improve my times.  And now I feel like I know the ‘secret’ in doing so!

I have never timed myself in a mile run.  The only time I’ve EVER run hard and fast is sprinting to the finish line (which I looooove to do).  I have no clue what I’m actually capable of.  I just run to run and hope for a good time – always holding back a little so I feel strong at the end.  Don’t get me wrong – I’m not really one of those run till you puke people… and I don’t care to get that way – but I DO feel like I need to push myself a little.

So yesterday was the day.  The hubs was home to watch the kid, I set my alarm for 6am, I found the closest high school with a quarter mile track (is that what they are called??), and laid out my clothes.  I was bound and determined to just suck it up and go.

The whole way there I contemplated what I would do if there were people on the track, what I would do if someone said “um excuse me – you can’t run here….”, what I would do if the track was closed….. what if.

Showed up.  One guy was there.  I stretched, put my stuff down, and started my warm up mile.  I guess I scared him off or something because he left.. I had the whole track to myself!  (which I found out later was boring and unmotivating – I want some partners in speed….)

4 laps (1 mile) warm up – slow jog….

Next lap was the speed lap.  I felt TOTALLY awkward running for some reason… I felt kinda out of control…. like my form sucked…. just wasn’t feeling like a Kenyan. 400 meter time : 1:48.  Holy cow!!! My goal is to be an 8min miler (I’m currently an 8:45-8:50ish miler)… so I knew I needed to run a 2min 400 to hit that.  AND I DID.

Next lap was a slow jog to recover…. Next lap speed lap 1:53 – WHAAAT??? Holy cow I was freaking…. finished mile 2 with another slow jog lap.  Overall average pace for mile 2 was 7:50.  SEVEN-FIFTY!!!!  I don’t think I’ve ever run a mile that fast – EVER.  I’m kinda wishing I didn’t ‘slow jog’ on the 2 laps and just ‘jogged’…. but I’ll save my ‘fastest mile’ jog for next time.  Like I said – I didn’t really know what I was doing haha.

My next mile I was testing out Jeff Galloway’s run/walk thing for an 8min mile but I screwed it up and walked 30sec every lap instead of every other lap – so I blew that one – but still came out with an 8:25 pace average.  Not shabby at all!!!!  I wasn’t even running hard – just walked then tried to do a 5k race pace so I still came out faster than my normal race pace!

It was getting HOT (I think it was 80degrees when I left) so I decided to do one more speed lap to see what I could crank out…

1:42.  O-M-G.  If I could have kept that up for 3 more laps that would have been a 6:24 mile!!!!!  Now – I will say – I could NOT have kept that up – but I’m convinced that if I add in speed work to my normal runs – I WILL hit my goal pace of 8minutes – heck – maybe even get lower!! Who knows!??

So the bottom line is – speed work is kinda essential to prove to yourself what you are capable of. It’s good for your running ego.  It’s good to have a comparison marker to SEE you are getting faster with all things constant (pre-measured distance and a nice flat track) It’s just good.

And I think you should try it too.  I CAN’T WAIT for next Tuesday!!!!!!

Share →

2 Responses to Running Epiphany #2: Speed Work

  1. (Just) Trying is for Little Girls says:

    I run at my local track on Tuesdays as well. You're right about those intervals giving a runner confidence. Nice job. When other people are there, just walk onto the track like you own it!

  2. Marissa says:

    never tried it, but guess I should. I gotta find a track to run on…change things up! THere's plenty of them around here, it'll be my mission to find one :)

    Awesome job!

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.