Friday, June 5, 2009


I have confession to make: I have never done any systematic speedwork or followed any plan in my running. I just run for the fun of it and I understand (I think) the basic principle of running weekly long runs in preparation for a marathon, etc. Also, it helps to run with faster runners because then even standard training runs become tempo runs.

But now my wife is downloading training plans from the Runner's World web page and she follows them to the letter. She did this for the Cleveland Marathon 10K and now for the River Run ½ Marathon (her next goal race). These plans call for speedwork once a week. Most people in our area do speedwork on Tuesdays, but we take a fitness class on Tuesday (that’s why I have not joined any speedwork groups.) So, the obvious choice for us is Wednesday.

The plans call for two types of speedwork, which usually alternate:
- Tempo Runs
- Speedwork of 400, 800 or 1600m repeats (with jogs in-between)

So, I decided to download a training plan too. As a goal race I chose the Broadview Heights 5K, which is on July 12, put my current marathon time, and selected “very hard” plan. What came out generally calls for:

- Tempo runs (2 increasing to 4 miles) at 7 min/mile
- Speedworks of 800m repeats at 3:11 (6:22 pace) or 1600s at 6:41 pace

If I follow the plan, I should be able to do my 5K at 19:49 (6:22) pace. Anything better than 20 minutes is fine with me (my current 5K PR is 2:06 from 2005 but I have not run a 5K for a couple of years now - I am not counting the “New Year’s Eve 5K” because of the nasty hills, which make it unsuitable for a PR)

I cannot possibly follow the entire plan, because I am also training for the Buckeye 50K, but I can do the speedwork. I have already done two weeks of speedwork (on Wednesdays).

- Last week: Tempo run in towpath, 3 miles at 7.03 average page (6:51, 7:07, 7:12)
- This week: Speedwork at Hike & Bike path, 1 mile at 6:34, 2nd mile at 6:27, then 800m at 6:20 and 400m at 6:10.

We wanted to use the Brecksville HS track but had football practice, so we went to the Hike & Bike path. This is asphalt and it is flat so it is very well-suited for speedwork, with the aid of our Garmin gps watches. The towpath is not well-suited because the surface (crashed limestone) has less friction and leads to slower times.

I like these speedwork sessions… We’ll see if they pay off. I have a good feeling for both the Broadview Hts and Independence 5Ks for an under 20 minute time.

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