Tuesday, May 14, 2013

Speed Training & Tips

Everyone wants to know how to get faster. How to get those PR's coming down and the legs kicking up dust. For me personally, this has come with time. When I started running, I was about 35 pounds heavier than I am now, so naturally, I didn't move as fast with extra weight. As the pounds started rolling down, my legs got stronger, endurance increased, and I was able to run faster at shorter distances. September 2012, however, I felt I had hit a wall with speed. I was training for my first 10k, also my first long race, and I could not get myself out of 10:20-10:40 mile pace. Every now and again, I'd strike gold and hit an even 10 or 10:15 then endurance would toast and my pace would be back around 10:30. I knew it was going to take work to get myself out of that 10 minute mile.

All of my research was pointing me in one direction, run a shorter distance at a faster pace, and over time, overall speed will increase. Hey, ho, let's go! Once per week , I began completing a speed training work out, pushing myself at a shorter distance, and over time, I left that 10 minute mile in the dust! My favorite treadmill routines have come from Julie at Peanut Butter Fingers.  I write down each work out and bring it with me to the gym, placing it on the treadmill and getting to work. Speed training should be HARD. It should test your mental and physical endurance, as both will make you stronger out on the road.  I haven't always been able to follow all of the speeds, don't be afraid to bring a work out down to your level, and work up to the original plan. You'll be impressed with how quickly you can improve!

After completing the half marathon in February, I knew I only wanted to get faster. I'd been able to hit my pace and distance goals every race, and I knew with certainty I wanted my next races to be even better. I've outlined my pace goals for the coming run reason- a sub 2 hour half marathon ( Current PR is 2:09:40) and the Marathon in 4:10:00. This past Saturday, I participated in outdoor speed training with my run group the Sole Sistas. We ran 4 rounds of Yasso 800's and 10 200 meter sprints. What's a Yasso 800? Here's a great article from Runner's World that explains it far better than I can, but ya know I"ll give it my best shot!

Start by determining what your goal Marathon pace would be, if you aren't at all interested in running a Marathon, you can still do this training, hang with me! No idea what your Marathon pace is? That's ok. Take your half marathon goal and double it. My goal for the full marathon is to run 10 minute miles. This would make my finishing time roughly 4 hours. This makes my 800 meter pace (aka half mile) 4 minutes long, which is an 8 minute pace. Very fast for me. After running your 800 meter pace, take that same time walk and recover. One round of Yasso 800 for me, looks like this:

Two Laps/Half Mile in 4 minutes
Walk 4 Minutes

I completed this round four times. We ran on a track at a local high school, however this work out could easily be converted on the street, or on a treadmill. It was a real test of my endurance and I surprised myself by hitting the mark every.single. time.

After completing four rounds of Yasso 800's I felt amazing, I was actually going to take off on another round, and then the run coach said, "No no no we have another activity to do". Oh ok, cool, bring it!

We ran 100 meters down the track and 100 meters back in rounds of 90 seconds. 90 Seconds to get down, back, recover, and repeat. 10 Times.

This is when I felt like I was going to upchuck. I pushed my body hard. My legs are still sore today, but I know that work out was hands down one of my most productive work outs last week. I've got another round of speed training this Saturday, so I won't be pushing a treadmill route this week at the gym. Don't push yourself to the point of injury. I've done that before too. One of my most important pieces of speed training advice has come from Christin, Certified Running Coach, at The Southern Wife "A little speed work goes a long way!" 

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  1. Ah - it's like you're reading my mind! Was toying around with the idea of emailing my HS boyfriend (college cross country and track runner) who now coaches about speed training and tips to increase mileage. So glad you posted this because I definitely want to try it (even if it makes me upchuck because that's just another badass notch in my book). xoxo

  2. I'm hoping to get faster after I'm feeling better. It could be a while though! My half marathon pace was 12:26/mile (I blame it on my injury, lol). My goal would also be 10 min/mi. I hope I don't have to start all over. I'm trying to cross train for now.

  3. I'm going to be trying this for sure! So glad you posted this!

  4. Great info! PRing at my last half just makes me want to do it again :)

  5. "Ask and you shall receive!"
    Thanks for the info! This month of May is dedicated to speed training for me and that will for sure go into June and July as well!! So I appreciate ANY speed work advice!

  6. Thanks for the training tips! I've been struggling to get below 10 minute miles on my long runs, and I want to get faster! I will definitely be trying out the yassos and sprints.

  7. I love me some speed training. For being as heavy as I am and having had a baby this past year, I'm so thankful to God that I didn't lose too much of my speed. I'm hoping to get back to my pre-baby PR soon. Just like you said, "It should test your mental and physical endurance".

  8. Thanks for all the good info - I love how ya break it down! With my first half marathon behind me (and the goal for that one was to run the whole thing) now I want to run my next one faster! I'll be coming back to this when that training starts....who am I kidding, I won't be able to wait that long!

  9. Well dammit - now I have to try this... Dang you Leigh Ann for being so informative. Off to google this...

  10. Oh my goodness, this post was so incredibly helpful! I just discovered a women's running group that's starting up next week. They meet once a week and I'm really interested to see if they'll do any speed work, or if it's just a run-and-socialize type of thing. Now I know what questions to ask when I call the coach!

  11. Thanks for posting about this - right now Im doing running three days and on my smaller mileage last week (2 miles) I sped things up, just to see what could happen, on the treadmill and this monday I ran the fastest mile outside to date - so it works :) not nearly to the level youre on, but Ill get there one day!