Today’s topic over at the Runners’ Lounge is speed. I’m not speedy, comparatively speaking, but I’ve been working hard at increasing my speed this winter and have been pretty successful. Last year when I was training for the marathon, I didn’t do any speedwork at all and found that I’d slowed down quite a bit, even at shorter distances.
My goal this spring was to get my speed back at least to where it was and to increase the distance I could stay at that speed. I’m happy to say I’ve accomplished that goal! I recently ran a half marathon at an average pace of 9:07, which is about where my speed was pre-marathon. Now I have a goal of finishing a half in under 9 minute miles (and I’ll be happy with 8:59 LOL).
To reach my goal, I incorporated fartleks, intervals, repeats, and tempos. While I’m sure they all helped some, the run that seems to make the biggest difference in my speed over long distances is the tempo. I’ve increased the distance of my tempo runs to at least 6, sometimes 7 miles. I try to do the middle 3 at a pace close to my 5k pace of 8:25. I’ve found that I then have to really slow down for a half mile or so, but if I keep running, I can pick back up to close to a 9 minute mile. I’m convinced (whether it’s the truth or not) that adding the extra miles after the fast running has made a huge difference in my ability to run stronger for longer.
Oh, and beer. Beer apparently is my other secret. For some reason, the carbs in beer really seem to set me up for a nice speedy run. Good thing too ’cause I really like good beer. (Is that a bit of an understatement? LOL)
It’s a cold, rainy day here today, so I’m not sure I’m going to get any walking in. We actually drove to school this morning. I will hit the treadmill this afternoon when Beer Geek gets home, so I’ll get at least a little bit of a workout. And I get to drag Shoo on another round of shorts shopping. I got the shorts I ordered from Old Navy yesterday and they don’t fit. I need to find a brand that caters to “curvy” women.
10 days until Key West! My dad and I are signing up for an Earth Day 5k to knock out Florida. If I get a chance to do a longer race there sometime, I’ll do it, but I’m not going to let the lack of a long race stand in the way of finishing the 50 by 50. ;o)
11 thoughts on “It’s all about the tempo”
I think you’re right about the tempo and extending the run after the painfully speedy segment– usually I enter “workout finished” mode as soon as the fast segment is over and just do a mile cooldown, but I know finding a way to keep on pushing would be helpful during races. (That, and beer carbs.)
Wow, great progress on the speed. Sounds really fast to me. I was cracking up at the beer. Does Beer Geek brew? We should compare notes. My guy is brewing like a fiend…and it’s actually good! :DThanks for the note!Nanc
I totally agree on the beer. My 5K and 10K PRs were set on the days after I had consumed a LOT of beer. I don’t think it’s just a coincidence.
That’s all I needed, just someone to say I needed to drink more beer! Awesome!I do need to incorporate tempo runs more often.. not a bad idea.
I’ve only recently started doing speed work, and while it’s a ton of effort, I know it’s the only way I’ll get faster.
I’m going to blame my slowness to not being able to tap into your secret – BEER. I can’t stand it. This is obviously why I run so slowly, no?
I've been into the intervals, but tempo scares me. An extended amount of pain makes me want to curl in a corner & hide.BUT, maybe I can try it with beer bravado in me.No joke though, I've had damn good runs with a night-before beer.
great tips!! and Congrats on the progress, that’s so fun!! I completely agree with the Tempo runs. they do wooonders! The longest I’ve gone at a “fast” pace was 6 miles. I thought it would kill me, but once I got into it I was fine! good stuff. :)also Love the tip about the beer. Really. who doesn’t love good beer?
I’ll have to try beer before a run and see if it works for me 🙂
I agree with anything that involves beer :)And it sounds like you’re doing great!
It’s great to know that the tempo runs have helped. I’m looking to throw them into my marathon schedule to be sure I don’t slow down too much, as if that were possible. Beer sure is great for carbo loading too.