One aspect of the rule of specificity as we learned it in the class I took is that when you are training for a race, your speedwork for that race should be at the appropriate speed. Meaning, if you are training for a 5k, your speedwork should be at 5k pace, if you are training for a 10k, your speedwork should be at 10k pace, etc. Part of me wonders how you can become faster without running faster than that, but for now I’m accepting their explanations at face value and I’m going to do my best to be my own guinea pig. After all, how can I expect someone I’m training to follow my training plans if I don’t believe in them myself. So, with three weeks to go until my 5k, I plan to run my speedwork at my 5k pace. This is, of course, assuming my body cooperates for me.
I’ve also decided that this rule can be applied to life. Beer Geek and I had some conversations this weekend about my tendency to overcommit and what that’s doing to our family life. Some of the things I’m currently committed to can’t be dropped immediately, but when “renewal” time rolls around, I plan to look at things differently. And I plan to look at new commitments the same way.
What exactly do I mean? If an opportunity arises or someone asks me to volunteer, it’s going to have to pass through a series of questions. The first, of course, is “will I really enjoy it?” If it’s something that will bring happiness to my life without negatively impacting others, then yes, absolutely, do it. If I feel “meh” about it or it’s going to be a PITA for my family, is it a stepping stone towards one of my goals? Or does it support a cause I’m passionate about? Or is it something one of the boys (or Beer Geek) really wants to do? And if the answer to one of those is yes, is the time it will take proportionate to the end goal? And is the timing flexible? If the answer to all the above is no, then my answer needs to be a no. Even if there is a yes answer to the questions, I plan to evaluate how it fits into the bigger picture of our lives.
I don’t expect to be any less involved in things than I am right at this moment, but my hope is that the things I’m involved in are more enjoyable to me and more manageable for our family as a whole.
So, I’m looking for a 5k PR and a more streamlined life. That’s an awful lot to ask of a simple rule, isn’t it?
(And if you have some free time on your hands, check out my featured post, Cross Training Failure, on Bookieboo. Yes, my decision to write there was prefaced by some serious thinking about how it fit with my life.)
20 thoughts on “Rule of specificity”
Does the rule of specificity apply to beer drinking as well?
I've always been impressed by all your commitments! You do so much and you always figure out how to get everything done. amazing!
On the running, I would say that for a 5k race speedwork at 5k pace is critical. However, in my experience your instincts are right: you do get faster if you also do shorter intervals at a faster pace. So maybe mile repeats or 2000s at 5k pace but 800s or 1200s at a pace that is 5-10 seconds faster per mile than 5k pace. Of course increasing speed with the least risk of injury will depend on the athlete's level of fitness and base and experienceI admit, I don't have any formal coaching training in this but I have done a lot of self-training over the years and it has worked pretty well for me when I am ramping up my running. Sorry – long comment.
Great analogy here! Sounds like you have a good plan i place to ensure you are not over-extending yourself… especially not for things that aren't really worth it.
Very thoughtful post. I like the idea of being more excited about the things you take on.
yep, this will serve you well…
I am using a plan from Brain Training now and it does have me running more at pace, but I love the intervals that have me do some at HMP, 10K, 5K pace..just with shorter distances on teh faster paces since I'm focused on HM right now
Now that you mention it, I've been doing a lot of training research and cannot find more specifics about what is a 5K and 10K pace. Is it a personal pace? Is there a standard somewhere? What's the difference? Thanks coach!
and apparently we share a brain. I also wrote about overcommitment today.and trust the course, the logic is good and it works. You'll get that 5k pr
I don't really get the rule of specificity, except that maybe if you're training at your 5K pace, then that pace becomes comfortable so on race day you can push to go faster? Regardless, I like your plan for new commitments.
I always feel like I don't get half as much done as many of my fellow bloggers! I just don't see how you get it all done.
nicely written! good observation.
Does this apply to distance as well as pace? It seems I got better at running the marathon by running more miles? Sure, I worked on pacing, but I think the mileage did more than anything. Good luck streamlining. Cheers!
I need to adopt that system. I overcommit to a lot of things that suck the life out of me.
Well said! Nicely done, girl!
Speed work. May not have to be quite that specific. Although specificity is the goal, you have to increase your speed work. Start with 100 m's and/or 200 m's. Say, 4 x 200 with 100m. Or 8 x 100m walking or jogging 100/200 between each sprint. Eventually, 200's become 400's and 400's become 1600's. In high school, by the end of XC season, we'd do 4-one mile intervals with 1/4 to half-mile walk/jog between them. If you can do that, 5K is more than covered.
I think you have that PR for sure!
I know the feeling of being overcommitted. I'm also intrigued about the training plan and setting speeds. Speed work is something that is new to me…
Couldn't agree more! I run a lot of my miles at my MP, I want to get my legs used to memory of the speed.And overcommitment is hard! But I think you're answering/asking all the right questions – can't wait to watch you kill that 5K!I'll email you tomorrow 😉