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Monday, July 13, 2015

Baby speed work

I have, with trepidation, dipped my toes back into the waters of speed work (POETRY, people).
I'm no longer joining our Monday night track group...because it doesn't exist. While I was out with injury they folded and various runners joined up with another group that meets on Tuesday. I can't make Tuesday: I have Bible study that night; plus the track is a little further away than the one we used to use, and I'd be cutting it close to arrive on time.
With four on the fourth coming up, I decided I had to do SOMETHING. So I tried a few easy 400's in the park. I have to use my Garmin, which isn't a great way to do speed work, but the park itself is similar to a track - no stoplights, no traffic, and at least sort of a loop. As a benefit, you can run in either direction, so I can avoid straining my weak left leg too much.

Boy, is it hot for speed work. Add to that my new, slower pace, and I am suffering out there!
I completed four workouts prior to the race:
10x400 - averaging 1:37
8x400 - averaging 1:35
12x400 - averaging 1:36
8x400 - averaging 1:34

So you see, I'm not really getting faster: my times are super similar, with a slightly slower pace on days when I have more reps. Not exactly good news. And apparently (see race report) they did not give me finishing speed!
But at least I'm getting out there and working on speed, turnover, and heat tolerance. And so far, the intervals haven't irritated my left leg, which remains weak and easily "tweaked" despite my best efforts. I can only hope that I see improvement when the temperatures cool - this 90F with 90% humidity is misery!


  1. Hang in there. Speed is often stubborn to get back, but it will come! I'm on the Struggle Bus with it, too. The weather in our areas doesn't do us any favors. I feel like once it cools down and humidity is less, we will see a payout.

  2. Oh man, speed in the heat is TOUGH. And it's not even as hot/humid here as it is in NOLA, so I can't even imagine! Our coaches often remind us that it isn't necessary about our pace, it's about our effort - so you are putting in a 10k effort but your watch might not reflect your 10k time because of the heat and humidity... We haven't done much speedwork yet as we are in the building phase of marathon training so are doing mostly hill work but the next segment of training will include speed.

    Also, you had asked what podcasts I listen to. A good running one is "Run to the Top Podcast." The host interviews different people from the sport of running. It's really interesting! Besides that I listen to things like Freakonomics, Planet Money, This American Life, Dear Sugar, and Start-Up. Plus a bunch more! I don't listen to them all every week but I subscribe to them all and listen to the ones that sound interesting to me.

    1. Thanks for the recommendations! I have been listening to podcasts in the car because I always drive during Marketplace and...meh. There's only so much Greek debt crisis I can take.

  3. We finally got to temperatures in the 90's after a weirdly cool (welcome) and rainy (not welcome) beginning to summer. Wow, does that make a difference! I imagine you'll see your speed pick up as the temps cool. But hurray for getting to do speed work again!

  4. I think I'm going to start speed work next week (maybe?), and I am not expecting much. This weather is BRUTAL. I did an "easy" 8 today and it felt more like a tempo run towards the end because my HR was so elevated from the heat. Hang in there and just keep up your efforts. I'm sure the payoff will come later in the fall.

  5. I would love to hit those times for that many 400s so don't sell yourself short. And I'd guess that in another month, those splits will move down. Great to see you back!

  6. I agree with Amanda, I think those times are more than respectable, and honestly sometimes I wonder if you're not expecting too much out of your Frankenstein hips too soon. Plus, considering the heat ad humidity, if you can maintain those times over the summer, I think you'll be fine in the fall. Have you considered changing up the speed duration? Seems like a lot of 400's. It seems like I start to experience some growth when I stretch out my speed lengths to 800, 1mi and 2mi. Much after that kind of turns into a Tempo run. I think if you mix in some different workouts, your 400 times will improve. Just a thought.

  7. Patience Grasshopper. It will come. Probably not in the middle of summer though.

  8. Be patient with your comeback. I think you are pretty fast already. :)

  9. Nice to have a back-up location where you can reasonably do speed work. This is one of my frustrations when our track is closed due to sportsball; pretty much everywhere else I run really has too many traffic lights and/or less-than-smooth footing. Hang in there! It will get easier!