6 miles speed
What the plan called for: 5x1000m (approx .62 miles) @ 4:28 pace (approx 7:12 min/mile)
What I did: 5x1000m at 7:30 min/mile. I started at 7:12 pace and didn’t have enough kick in my legs. So I dropped my pace to 7:30 so that I could complete 5 repeats. Lesson learned: when doing tempo and speed work on back-to-back days, do the speed work on day 1 and tempo on day 2 (or better yet, DON’T do them back-to-back).
Why do we torture ourselves with speed work? Doesn’t it seem silly to train for 26.2 miles by doing 800m repeats? Does that really help? For me, the jury is still out on that one. I’ve done speed work in the past and off and on recently. I decided to pick it up again this training cycle. We’ll see if it helps me come May but for now I hold more stock in tempo and marathon-paced long runs.
Speed work (aka track workout) improves your VO2max. What is VO2max? I found a few good definitions…
From good old Wikipedia –> VO2max is the maximum capacity of an individual’s body to transport and use oxygen during exercise.
Or for you visual people:
The point at which oxygen consumption plateaus defines the VO2max or an individual’s maximal aerobic capacity (source).
Most of the time speed work is done at current 5K pace. This is an appropriate pace for marathoners since it will provide a stimulus for improving your VO2max but still leave your legs fresh for your other training runs. For runners training for shorter distances, speed work can be done slightly faster than 5K pace.
Speed work is usually done in intervals ranging from 400m to 1600m, although I know in the near future I have a 3200m interval on my plan (ouch!). The amount of rest time in between intervals varies. My current training plan allows for very little rest in between intervals. In the past, I’ve rested half the distance of that interval (for example, 800m repeats with 400m rest interval). Jogging or walking for beginners is acceptable for “rest” time.
There you have it – speed work explained. It’s definitely not my favorite choice but I can see why speed work has its place in training.
Off to watch Buried with Matt. Did anyone see it? It’s supposed to be good and (the best part) Ryan Reynolds is in it 🙂 I love me some Ryan Reynolds. RR + psychological thriller = a good night.