Wednesday, February 27, 2008

My Foray Back Into Speed Training

I used to be an avid runner. I ran track and cross country my junior and senior years in high school, and ran on my own during part of my college years. However, all the training and races eventually burnt me out, and I stopped running completely. It wasn't until I received the Nike+ setup this past Christmas that I started thinking about running competitively again. Then I checked out some results of recent 5K races, and realized that I could be very competitive within my age group(male, 25-29) if I dedicated myself to training like I had years ago.

So, I started out running 2 miles a day three to four days per week. Now, this isn't a lot, especially when you're training for a 5K or when you used to average 40-50 miles per week, but I also didn't want to start out too hard and get hurt or discouraged. Right now, I'm into roughly my 7th week of training(had to take two weeks off due to a bad cold), and I've knocked a little over two minutes off of my two mile time. With about seven weeks until my first 5K in many years it's time to up my mileage and start incorporating speed training. Like my plan to ease into the mileage, this is what I'm doing to ease into the speed work. Plus, it's a workout that doesn't require a track. Though, as I get more serious the distance will increase, and I'll probably put in some track time.

Since I already have my 2 mile course mapped out, I decided that I would just use that for my speed work. What I ended up doing was sprinting a block, then jogging a block. Each block where I run is approximately 1/10 of a mile. So it's 10 blocks out, and 10 blocks back. That means that by the end of the run I had put together a 10x160m(roughly) sprint workout. I didn't track the time because I wanted to concentrate on form and pace, though as I progress I probably will start tracking it. I can say that the first 1/3 or so I felt decent, but a few of those "middle" blocks were sort of tough.

All in all, it was a challenging workout, but the loose structure made it fun. Which is one thing I really want to stress on this blog. Yes, you do need some structure to your running "plan" if you aim to run races in a somewhat competitive manner. However, too much structure could lead to frustration or boredom, and ultimately hinder your training. It's up to you to decide what works best for you, and then use that in a manner that makes you not only a better runner, but a smarter one too.

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