Speed Work Post-Baby

Confession: the last time I did speedwork outside was years ago (like 3 or 4).  When I was in Iraq, it was impossible for me to find an area on the base where I could run without worrying about hummvees, tanks, or even indirect fire, so I began to do my speedwork on the treadmill.  I guess when you are left with no choice, you learn to love the only option you have.  I have stuck with the treadmill for the past few years.

After Saturday’s 6 mile progression run, I realized I needed to suck it up and start doing the speedwork outside.  While the treadmill can give me a great workout, I find that I push myself much harder when I am outside.

There isn’t a local track that I can go to so I will be doing my repeats on an area close to my home that has just under a mile of flat pavement (the last .1 or so is a bit of an uphill).  It’s definitely not ideal – I have to keep an eye out for traffic since I’m going through a bunch of intersections, but it could definitely be worse.  Trying to be optimistic – HA =)

I was out the door into the freezing cold (it was 30 degrees) at 6am yesterday.  (I find doing speedwork first thing in the morning before my mind full wakes up and knows what I’m about to put it through works best for me).

Since I’m working on gaining the speed that I lost during pregnancy, I will be focusing on sets of 1600m (mile), 800m (1/2 mile) and 400m (1/4 mile) for the time being.  Typically, I prefer just doing mile repeats (I work up to 8) for marathon training, but I want to ensure I’m giving myself a good base of speed before I start that.

1.75 mile warm-up (I ran to the red area above)

  • 2 x 1600m: 6:24, 6:21
  • 2 x 800m: 3:09, 3:08
  • 2 x 400m: 1:31, 1:30
(1/4 mile recovery jog in between mile and 1/2 mile repeats)
1.75 mile cool-down back to my home
Total = 8 miles

The workout was painful.  My lungs were burning by the middle of  the first mile repeat.  I’m not comfortable with pacing myself outside yet and started WAY too fast (watch said 5:56 at the 1/4 mile mark – definitely no where near ready to run times like that for mile repeats) and paid for it by the end.  My legs felt like dead weight during the last few repeats.

My mantra for this training cycle is Embrace the Pain.  I’m re-familiarizing myself how to run uncomfortably.  I wear these words on my wrist for all of my runs and have been repeating the words to myself during hard workouts.  Yesterday was no exception.   PS. If you like my Say It Do It bracelet, check out Erica Sara Designs.

Do you do speedwork??  What’s your favorite speed workout?  

YES – mile repeats!!

Do you have a track that you can use for speedwork?  Do you do it on the treadmill?

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    1. Nice work! Speed is quickly regained, but it looks like you haven’t lost much :)

      I don’t have a TM or a track, so it’s all on the road by HR or pace, depending. Someday I hope to get a track near here!
      Raina recently posted..Weekend rewind. (mostly pics)My Profile

    2. I love speed work on the track! I’ve loved it since college. I used to go to the track and run repeats and then stadium stairs. It always made me feel strong. I live three miles from our local high school track which is always open (and conveniently where my running club does track workouts). Its a perfect workout to run a three mile warm up down there, run repeats on the track and then a shake out run home. I’m really looking forward to doing this in the spring once all the snow melts! My favorite track workout is a ladder: 200, 400, 600, 800, 1000, 1000, 800, 600, 400, 200. So tough but soooo good!
      Sarah @RunFarGirl recently posted..Gearing Up: Dressing for Winter RunsMy Profile

    3. I am resting from speed work for a few weeks, but am itching to get back to it! Like you, there isn’t a track near me… the university track is the closest, and it’s closed to the public, which is so frustrating. So I’ve also been doing it outside, and I find it so much more challenging because I have no idea how far I’ve gone or how much farther I have to go. I tend to start way too fast and then crash. Or the workout turned into a tempo run instead. I’m hoping to be more consistent with speed work next cycle, I know how much it can pay off. Thanks for the inspiration, as usual! :)

    4. I saw your DM post yesterday and thought, “dang,” that’s an awesome workout! I did my speed workout yesterday, too. Just 3 x 1 mile on the track as I rebuild my mileage after being injured. Kudos to you for doing it on the road; I’ve tried that and it’s hard! On the track I can keep an eye on my splits and make sure they’re even. Still, like you, I found my lungs burning and thought “this is hard!” more than once. Felt great once it was over and I could run home and change out of my soaked clothes. The morning mist had changed to a steady rain but I hadn’t even noticed!
      Alison @ racingtales recently posted..I Feel it in my Fingers, I Feel it in my Toes…Raynaud’s DiseaseMy Profile

      • Mile repeats are SO tough! I have a love/hate relationship with them….YES! That was the hardest part – I felt like I was so close to the end of the repeat but I was always so much further away and the time never seemed to move :/ I WISH I had access to a track – but I haven’t been able to find any that are open to the public yet (that are close to me).

    5. Great splits! You might have been tired but you managed to drop your pace right through to the end.

      Getting used to being uncomfortable is definitely hard, especially after a long break. I love/hate the track for just that lack of comfort! (no treadmill for me unless forced at gunpoint).
      misszippy1 recently posted..The shoe store model is brokenMy Profile

      • I was actually really close to puking – which I guess is a sign that I was doing it right. HA.
        I used to hate the treadmill but when I had no other choice I developed a strange love for it. I need music and the tv on though for anything longer than a few miles – keeps me distracted =)

    6. I like the track or treadmill, it depends on what length I’m doing though. I love 800s, I think they are the perfect length of speedwork. I’ve got some scary fast mile repeats coming up though ;)
      Steph recently posted..Central Park 10 Mile Birthday RaceMy Profile

    7. Your so motivating! I hate and love speedwork…it works!
      Kat recently posted..WDW Weekend: The Half Race RecapMy Profile

    8. Wow speedwork on treadmill for 4 years. You’re a whole new breed of dedicated!

      I like to speedwork on a track or a veryyy empty street! I have actually been going to my boyfriend’s old high school track! Sometime his mom comes with me (and she probably will be coming a lot more in the next few months)!!
      Ashley @ Running Bun recently posted..Pro Compression Giveaway WinnerMy Profile

      • Slightly crazy might be the better word to describe me. HA. I WISH I had a track that I could go to – there are a few schools near me but their tracks are locked and I haven’t been able to track down anyone who can get me the key!

        YES!! I hope she does =) Looking forward to seeing how awesome she does! =)

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