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!!!!!!