Please keep my beautiful friend, Sarah, and her family in your prayers. Her adorable 4 month old son, Jack, is undergoing surgery today. You can read about her son and what he’s going through here.
If you look at my marathon training plan, it’s a mix between being extremely detailed and very vague. The long runs, types of workouts each week, and target weekly mileage is pretty black and white. I know what I want to get done each week and I try hard not to deviate from that. I run six days a week with three of those being quality days – long, 2x speed (either intervals, tempo, SS, LT) – and the other three being easy/recovery days. The workouts for the speed days are left blank.
I don’t believe that I have to do the same speed workout every single week. It’s boring. I like the variety of changing it up every week (or every few weeks). Intervals and tempo one week. Intervals and steady state another week. I typically decide what my plan is for the week after my long run (based on how I’m feeling) but have changed my mind the night before or even the morning of the workout. However, I often do one interval workout a week.
I don’t think there is such a thing as a wrong speed workout for me right now. I’m still working on regaining my speed post-baby and as long as I’m pushing myself and hitting the times I shoot for, speed workouts will only help prepare me for my spring marathon.
My speed workouts each week are the day that I go hard. Easy runs are easy paced. Long runs are comfortably paced. Speed days are my hardest days of the week and closest to an all-out effort (I never got 100% all out). Going hard on speed days is what got me from a 3:54 for my 1st marathon to a 3:22 for my 2nd marathon (despite doing only 1x 18 and 20 miler in training). My 32 minute improvement was not a result of taking it easy on speed days.
I’ve been asked what type of intervals I do and what I recommend. Below is a summary of how I approach interval days:
- Pace: I use McMillan’s Calculator to give me an idea of what my pace should be for each distance (I select the speedster option since I do better with shorter distances)
- Recovery: I mix an active recovery with a rest period for almost all of the longer distances (unless I’m doing Yasso 800s). I jog a 400m recovery (~2:15) after 800m-3200m repeats + a rest of ~30 sec to drink water, wipe the sweat off, and stretch anything that feels tight. This may not be the recommended way of doing interval workouts, but it works for me. This is the way I’ve always done it. Interval days are a way to get my legs used to moving faster than I let them move every other day of the week.
- I aim for each repeat to be faster than the previous one (easier to do on the treadmill). This forces me to not start too fast and finish strong. Ending the day with your fastest repeat is a huge confidence booster.
- I love doing intervals on the treadmill. It forces me to run at the pace I want. There is no other option when you are on the treadmill. You either run that pace or you fall off.
Below are some workouts I incorporate into my training plan – these are just an idea of some of the types of speed workouts you can do:
Hope you have a wonderful weekend and stay safe/clear of Nemo!!!
What is your favorite speed workout?
Are you in the path of Nemo? Has snow begun falling by you?