First I have to say thank you for all the great advice on speedwork. It was very helpful to read your opinions and couple it with things that I have read. That said, I have made the decision to add speedwork to my weekly plan. Not much (I don't want to over do it at all) but some. Doing this on Tuesday gives me the most time between it and my long run. I plan to only run 4x400 once a week at the pace I got on the McMillan calculator link that SupermomE12 gave me.
Sidenote: Supermom is doing a fundraiser right now on her blog, See Mom Run Far. She has joined Team MEB for the NYC Marathon to help children in the U.S. and Africa have access to health, education and fitness opportunities. She has gotten together quite a few sponsors and for your donations you are entered to win some really awesome prizes. I know things are tight, you've read enough of my complaints about the cost of this sport to realize I'm right there with you, but if you can at all, donate and help give some youth the opportunity they need to not only be healthy, but develop the great sense of accomplishment that comes from fitness. Thanks!
Now back to the calculator: This thing is SO cool. I just plugged in my time from my 5k and it tells me all sorts of paces for different types of runs(half of which I have no idea what they are, but someday....) I know there is another calculator out there for Run Less Run Faster, but I haven't been able to find it again. If anyone knows what it is, send me the link. Anyway, the pace range it gave me for 400 meters was 3:07-3:17. Not too bad, but definitely faster than I have been going.
Last week I tried it for the first time and....yeah, It was VERY hard. I started out too fast and really thought it wasn't a good idea. However, I know I made some bad choices in running location. My form and my mindset were not in the best place either. In case you were wondering, my idea of running on grass because it would be softer, big thumbs down. It was all wet from the dew and besides getting my feet a little too moist, I slipped on almost every other step. It took twice as much work just to keep me upright. After the first lap I hit the road and it was much better.
1st 400 - 3:06
2nd 400 - 3:59
3rd 400 - 3:31
4th 400 - 3:26
So I never really hit the range I was supposed to. Today was a completely different story. I decided to go to a park that has a sidewalk loop around it and see if it was by chance 400 meters. It wasn't, but the loop around the parking lot was pretty close. I ran the first 400 and knew I was going way too fast. I just felt so good. I slowed down for the second, trying to get a feel for the pace I needed. This, by the way, is hard to do with runkeeper. I'm going to have to get a bit more practice to get a feel for what my pace should be. By the third one, I thought I should be dying. To my complete shock, I still felt pretty good. Tired? Yes. But only worrying about my pace during the intervals and knowing I only have four to go allowed me to push myself just enough. I really felt....fast. That's a new feeling for me. I think I like it. Anyway, after a cooldown, I headed home to stretch and check my times.
1st 400 - 2:37! Way too fast for what I'm working on, but WOW! I didn't know I could move that fast!
2nd 400 - 3:11 Right where I needed to be
3rd 400 - 3:24 A little slow....
4th 400 - 3:19 Just a little high for my goal, but still, not bad.
All in all, I have to say I really like doing speedwork. I'm sure I need to work on my technique, and read a bunch more about it. For now though, It's going to be part of my week and I like it! I'm running another 5k on the 23rd and I'm really excited for it. I'm hoping to PR, but if not, at least beat my time from the Nibley 5k. I think I'm beginning to understand how to pace myself differently for different distances. Slowing down for the longer ones, speeding up for a shorter ones. Until now it's all been the same (probably because I'm just starting long runs). There is so much more to running than I ever thought and I'm excited to learn more. Really quickly I just want to say thanks again. I've learned so much from reading your comments and, for those that have them, your blogs. It's really nice to have this community and variety of knowledge to draw on during my adventure in running. Thanks