Saturday, November 14, 2009

Favorite Speed Workouts -- Advice??

So I have been slowly getting back into competitive running after taking a very long break that coincided with my daughter being born and a crazy year-long renovation of a Fed Hill rowhouse. Anyway, my mileage is starting to increase -- about 30-40 right now and I'd like that to be 45-55 in the next month or so -- but I'm struggling a bit to assemble some speed workouts. It's been a while since I have "trained" for anything, but I'm feeling great in my runs lately and I really hope to drop some PR's in the next 6-12 months or so.
So here's my upcoming race calendar. There's a big run in Hawaii called the Great Aloha Run. It is 8.15 miles and is February 15th. This is my "goal" race, if you want to call it that. There is also a Readiness Series leading up to the Aloha run consisting of a 5k (12/7), an 8k (1/10) and a 10k (1/31) that I'd like to use as part of my training.
So here's my question for the group -- what are some of the best speed workouts you have done in the past year? What have you found the most effecive? What has worked at TNT? What hasn't worked out so well?
I have a smal group of strong runners here that I run with twice a week - Wednesday night group runs of 6-9 miles and Sunday long runs of 12-18 miles so far. But my speed work may be done by myself, unless I can convince any of them to join. There are also plenty of hills around here if you have any good hill workouts to recommend. Sidenote - I went for an "easy" hour run yesterday and stumbled on a ridiculous hill half way through the loop I wanted to do. I wish I knew the elevation on it, but it was a good 1/2 mile of climbing. Ugh.
Anyway, I appreciate any help you can offer. I also hope this helps others in the group by compiling a list of quality workouts we may want to use over again in our training cycles.


Johnnie Cochran said...

Ryan, I recommend starting with some fartlek type workouts and lots of striders before moving into any kind of lung-searing interval work. Generally, you should incorporate strides after at least one training run a week.

A good old stand-by I like is 5k-8k of work consisting of 800m "on" followed by a 200m "float." The 800 on should be at 75-85% of capacity depending on your fitness while the float should be a regular running pace, NOT a jog. Generally, the workout ends up being only marginally slower than a race effort but you never get that wiped-out feeling at the end. A great way to get the body and mind ready for track work. Of course you can simulate this workout on the road or a cross-country course with something like 2:30 on 1:00 off.

Christy said...

When I was doing 5k/10k training last winter I did one shorter fartlek type workout like 15-10 x 1 min on/ 1 min off, 10 x 2 min w/90 second easy in between intervals or some kind of ladder. I did these workouts off the track, all at perceived effort, starting around 10k effort and progressing to mile pace by the last few.

My second workout of the week was something at tempo pace. 3-5 miles at tempo, 2 x 15 minutes (2 min rec), or mile repeats (1 min rec)

Good luck!

RM said...

Ryno - if you're stuck for "workouts" you can always click on the link on the right side that says "TWSS 2009 Spreadsheet" and that will open the Google doc. From there look on the bottom for the tab titled "Workouts" and that will give you each TNT workout we've done this year.

Schmidt said...

Thanks! That's a big help.

fbg said...

Ryan, my interval philosophy is this: I aim to do 2-5 miles of intervals (based on race distance) at slightly faster than race pace with less rest than running time.

So, for a 5k, I might do 12x400m with 1min rest. That's my standard workout at peak time.

But, you have to work up to that. You can start with short intervals and work up to 1000s, miles, or two-miles, or you can start slower and get faster from week to week. I like to take the first week easier, slower than race pace, and then the next week either make the workout longer, make the intervals longer, or speed up. Each week I then do something a little different to build up to faster than race pace with more running than rest.

That being said, if I was training for an 8-miler, I probably wouldn't even go to the track, unless it was for a post-run 8x200m (all out) set. I would do fartlek and acceleration runs, where the last few miles are at race pace or faster. I love those, and I honestly never plan them; they just happen when I feel good. Maybe that's not a good philosophy, but this year I snagged a 1500m PR and a sub-14:30 5k with only three or four honest speed sessions.

Moral of the story: make sure to get comfortable running slightly faster than race pace in addition to doing quick strides once or twice a week, and you'll be cruising on race day. The rest is simply a matter of preference.

If you require more structure, the others can probably help you more.

Best of luck!