11 April 2012

Speedwork Running

This year, instead of just pounding it out on race day I’m taking my race performance more seriously.  Maybe it’s because I’m older.  I could say wiser, but really I’m just trying to counter the effects of age.  Maybe it’s knowing I’ll have to write about it, and I feel pressure to perform.  Whatever the motivation, I’ve set a goal finish time and started officially training, incorporating long runs and speedwork.

Why speedwork?  Done after a 1-2 mile warm up run, it helps condition your body to run harder for longer, improving your overall race time.  It builds strength and endurance.  It trains your body how to burst speed at the end of a race, or when you want to break away from another runner.    

What is speedwork?  Essentially it's running shorter distances at a faster speed.  It can be negative-split intervals where you run a set distance 4x, faster each time with a brief recovery in between.  It can be hill work with a recovery jog back down.  Or simply the Fartlek method of playing with surges of speed.  

Speedwork, for mid-distance races, is good to start four to eight weeks before race day.  Distance and speed depend upon the length of your race.  In general, the shorter your interval the faster you should run it.  For example, run 200 meters 12-15% faster than your race pace (mile intervals run 3-5% faster than race pace, and adjust for distances in-between.)   I should note that speedwork isn't running full out, but faster at a controlled speed (no point hurting yourself.)

Stay tuned ... Run.4.Fun in 23 days!
Goal: 5k - sub 25:00 (5/4/12), F 40-44

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