Monday, March 15, 2010

Speedwork....Christa style!

I have had lots of questions concerning how to do speed work. Well, if you have asked, you are now in luck, because I am going to share the secrete to running faster....
Everyone listening?
To run faster, you have to.......
RUN FASTER!
This is a quote from my good friend and coach Ron. Ron is the one I blame....err, I mean give credit to my love for running. I remember asking him what should I do to get faster in running. This is the advice he gave. He is a very blunt person, and I appreciate this.

Now I am going to expand on running faster....but I want to first lay out some ground rules.

  1. First and foremost, do not increase distance or speed significantly in 1 week period. Let it build on itself.
  2. Second, in my humble opinion, I do not think you need to add speed work if...you are new to running or training for your first race. No matter the distance. The goal for the first race should be to have fun, finish, and want to do it again.
  3. If you do not want to get faster....don't do speed work. Everyone has different goals for running. No goal is bad....whether this is to walk your 1st 5k or win the Olympics.
  4. If you want to win the Olympics...I may not be the best person to give you advice. So you can continue to read, because I am a very entertaining blogger. However, you need to get a coach. Ha Ha!
  5. If you disagree with this, cool! However, this is how I do things and my humble opinion. I have found this to work for me. But if you know of something that works for you, by all means, do it. And let me know because I am so up for mixing things up a bit.

So here we go!
I have several different workouts to increase speed. Some may sound crazy but trust me.....famous last words...wahahahaha!

The Track Workout!

So this is easy. You go find a track and run around it like a mad person. However, here is the plan. A track is 400 meters around. So:

400 will be 1x around
800 will be 2x around
1200 will be 3x around
1600 will be 4x around
-You will have a work phase and recovery phase. I normally do the recovery phase for 400 (1x around) unless otherwise noted. Recovery normally happens after EVERY workout. Understand...you can run slowly or walk. Forward motion is the goal for recovery...oh, and for you to recover from the hard run.
-The workout should be ran around or right under your 5k pace. Don't know that? No problem. I normally just run the workout phase all out, but not sprinting.
-Make sure you warm up for at least a mile and cool down for at least a mile.
-Different track workouts include:
1. Repeating 800s (my favorite). You run 800, then recover 400, run 800, recover 400. If new to speed work, you need to start out with 4 of these then increase weekly by one.
2. Ladder (Ron's Favorite). You run 400, 800, 1200, 1600, 1200, 800, 400. With recovery in between each. 1600 meters is close to a mile, so this is a hard workout.
3. Descending. You run 1600, 800, 400....with recovery. You get the picture. You can add in some 800s if you want.
4. 200's (Josh's favorite). Josh is an Iron Man, and can run his marathon part faster than most people can run a stand alone marathon. Run 200 fast then recover for 200. Sounds easy...but it hurts so good. He is a troubled soul and loves pain! Do as many of these as you can. However, do not overdo it.

Hill repeats!
Find a good hill that will take you around a minute or two to climb, then run up it. Recover by running down the hill. For an added kick, do push ups at the bottom of the hill....OUCH! Make sure you warm up for around a mile and cool down for a mile. Easy enough?

Fartlek!
Can you say that without laughing? Fartlek, which means "speed play" in Swedish, is a form of conditioning which puts stress mainly on the aerobic energy system due to the continuous nature of the exercise.....or so I have been told. I think it is just something every runner has been told and accepts so they can say the word fart and not sound like a 8 year old boy.
Basically you warm up, then run fast to a point, recover, run fast to another point, recover, run fast to another point, recover.....and on and on until your run is complete. Make sure you cool down well.

Tempo Run aka Chasing Abigayle while she rides her bike!

This is easy. Run your 10k pace for a prescribed amount of time. Put a warm up and cool down in the mix. I would start off doing this in the middle of the run for about 10 minutes then increase 5 minutes the next time you do it.
I like to do this on the Greenway. I have Abigayle come and ride her bike with me. When the workout starts, she rides and I chase her. It is a great workout. I feel the need to keep up with her for her safety. She does have to keep me in her sites though...as she does ride much faster than I run.
After the cool down, you can stretch really good. I am bad at this, however, I have heard that it is a good thing to do..... Do as I say, not as I do. Ha!

So I hope this has enlightened you somewhat on the fun of speed work. I posted a saying a few weeks ago saying "If you are in training, don't expect every run to be easy." Speed work is not meant to be easy, but can be fun. After that post someone asked me "Why do it if it isn't fun?" To respond to that.....Just because a run isn't easy, does not mean it isn't fun for me. I enjoy pushing myself when I am chasing my giggling 12 year old on her bike through mud. I enjoy crossing the finish line knowing I have left everything on the course. I enjoy placing in my age group, meeting goals, and running as fast as I can. Everyone has different goals for running. Some people run for the pure joy of running. Others long to run fast and train to do so. You can have fun doing either. It is a question on what fun is to you. When I started out, I just wanted to run to lose weight. Then I noticed I enjoyed it. Then I liked distance. Now I want to be fast. Fast enough to run Boston....goals change. People change. That is the wonderful thing about running. It can change you and it can change with you.

2 comments:

Cathy Parker said...

Fartlek???? ha ha ha ha ha

That was truly educational and entertaining at the same time. Thanks for sharing. Looks like according to your guidelines I don't have to do speedwork. Yippie! :-) Now let's go have a brownie and celebrate!

Jessi said...

Def gonna try the ladder in exchange for my typical 800/400 splits. Awesome blog.