Wednesday, June 29, 2011


So I need some advice from all of my "more experienced" readers out there.  As you can tell, I'm very new to the running world.  I've been going since March and I really love it.  Getting out and moving is great.  One of my biggest helps as I've entered this alternate universe is the internet.  It's how I've found training plans, inspiration, and support.  I also find many new terms and ideas that I've never thought about.

One thing that has truly intrigued me is speed work (or track workouts, intervals, whatever you want to call it.)  As far as I've been able to glean from my reading, it's basically running short distances (400 meters or so) at a faster-than-tempo-pace with the goal of improving your overall speed.  I've also read that it really helps with form, forcing you go align yourself in order to get to that speed.  Does this sound familiar?  Am I getting the idea?

So my question for all of you who have run for awhile is....When is a good time to start adding it in?  I've been fascinated by the thought of increasing my speed and really, it just seems like it would break up my workouts more, add some variety to my training.  I'm just curious if I should wait until I've been doing this longer or do it now?  Second question, Does it need to be done on a track?  I've seen both and I'm sure a track is better on the legs but I don't really have one nearby.  Should I wait until I can get to a track, or just do it around my neighborhood?  I'm not really going to go too fast, I'm still a slow poke, but I would love to have some short bursts of speed.  My other thought is to try it on the grass at a park.  That's bound to be softer than the road, right?

I hope you can help me with this.  I want to learn more about it and maybe try some.  Thanks for the advice.

P.S.  My legs are doing SOOOOO Much better since I started Yoga.  I went out yesterday and had no pain in my ankles at all and hardly any in my knee!  Yoga for Runners in my queue  for netflix.  I can't wait to try it out!


Avg. Pace
Avg Speed

5:00 (warmup)15:518
5:00 (fast)13:24-3
1:00 (slow)15:420
5:00 (fast)12:43-5
1:00 (slow)15:29-1
5:00 (fast)14:194
1:00 (slow)16:221
5:00 (fast)14:301
1:00 (slow)12:12-0
5:00 (cooldown)16:22-2


  1. I am just starting speedwork for the first time. But from what I have read from others who have done it, you don't need to stick to a track. I have seen others post that they have done speedwork in their neighborhoods. Good luck with your speedwork!

  2. I started speedwork when I was training for my second marathon but wished I had done it sooner. I really think it is the key to getting faster overall. To get an idea of what paces you should shoot for you can use the McMillan calculater
    You put in any "time" you have for yourself at any distance, and then it gives you paces to train at at other distances, including speedwork. It's a great tool! Speedwork is fun!

  3. Yes, do it now, it's fun! Find your pace as recommended above (McMillan) take the 800 meter long distance runner speed workout pace, double it if you use a gps device and after warming up for a mile do a half mile at that pace, (treadmill, track, road, whatev) jog easy for .25-.5 mi until you feel recovered and do another. Don't do speed work more than once a week, don't do it in the first 3 days after your long run and don't do a hill or hard workout the day before or after, easy miles are okay. If you're following a typical marathon plan there should be a short 3/4 mi run day in the middle of the week where you can do this. Have fun with it! Don't go too fast! You need only go at a pace that challenges you to get your body to benefit from training at your lactate threshold.