Friday, November 05, 2010

speedwork actually works, really

I run only four days a week and cover around 30 miles in those runs. If I run more often than that, I get injured, though I can increase my overall mileage without injury (and I feel compelled to write that I exercise every day because I am compulsive; the other three days of the week are for spinning, plyometrics, kickboxing, and strength training). Until recently, I incorporated one speed session a week…at most...when inspired.

This summer and fall, I decided to follow an “advanced” training program (which I modified for my four-day a week routine) in order to prepare in a more focused manner than usual for the Wilson Bridge Half-Marathon and the Army 10-Miler. So I had to up my speedwork to twice a week.

I don’t go to a track. (I do have a funky track near my house. “Funky” because you have to run, I think, 3 1/3 times around to cover a mile, which is simply confusing for speedwork.) My schedule incorporates one tempo run, one interval/fartlek run, one “regular old” run, and one distance run.

My speed sessions are definitely challenging, but not hard to incorporate every week, and they relieve any possible running boredom. This must be good for the brain as well as the body, since doing routines in new ways creates new neural pathways.

Without changing my diet, I have lost five pounds and my race pace of (just barely) sub-eights has become “comfortable” again—and I can even push into that less comfortable realm of 7:20s-7:30s for a mile or so at the end of even a long race.

I did nothing fancy, and I feel great.

(This may be my first “perky” post ever. I apologize.) 

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