In my recent return to a real running schedule, I’ve included weekly intervals. I have always done some form of speedwork, but until this spring, I’d done it on the treadmill, and honestly, it was just way to keep myself from getting bored while on that thing. However, I wasn’t seeing returns. This past spring, in a deep funk of winter running and feeling like a total slug, working just as hard as ever before but getting slower and slower, my treadmill died. As it turns out, that was a blessing in disguise. I was forced to take my speedwork onto the streets…. And goddamnit it was SO. MUCH. HARDER.
However, along with all of that hardwork, I also saw some awesome returns. My regular week day 3milers went from “easy” being in the 12:30s to “easy” in the 11:30s for that distance – without any more effort. The only reason I could see this happening was from the outdoor speedwork – I’d changed nothing else! I like 800s, personally, because most of what I run is distance, the half-mile sprint feels like I’m learning to run at a comfortably hard pace for about 430-5 minutes at a clip. 400s feel too short to me – like I never got a chance to get going. I once tried mile repeats and felt awful after two, and couldn’t fathom doing the next two I’d hoped for. So 800s are my happy place. In the spring, my shining moment was seeing an 800 in the EIGHT MINUTE MILE area! I mean, high 8’s, but goddamnit, in the EIGHTS!
This time around, after taking time off of a running schedule for my new home and job etc, I’m just getting back up to paces I’m okay with. If you follow me on Instagram, you’ve been seeing my weekly interval journey: from 800s in the 10s, to FINALLY last weekend getting them ALL under 10 minute pace. That is the first accomplishment of this cycle, and while its baby steps, I’m happy with it. My route is such that the first two 800s are uphill, the third is downhill, and the fourth is relatively flat. I’d like to get to place where I can add in a fifth, but hey, baby steps.
This is how I’ve progressed so far:
Hopefully, this will lead to some decent times in my races this fall. As I mentioned last post, I have three races on the schedule:
Seaside Semper Five (5k)
Millie’s Pizza Run (10k)
Grape Gallop (2 mile option – use SLOWSHEEP17 for $3 off entry!)
I’m hoping I can just put it all out there for all of these races and see where I end up. Either way, I’ll be happy to have tried out some new races (two of the three I’ve never done!) and earn some new (pizza shaped) bling!
How do you try to get faster (if you do)? What is your favorite distance for interval/speedwork?