A Little More Each Day

One working mama learning to run & to maintain my 100+ pound weight loss!

Dipping a toe into some speed(ish) intervals

on March 19, 2014

Last night, I didn’t get out for my run until after 8 o’clock. Since it was so late, I didn’t have time for a long run so I decided it was a good idea to try out some intervals to get a higher quality workout in a short amount of time. Up to this point in my running life, my training has consisted of running progressively longer distances with no real thought as to pacing or intensity. Part of my goal for this year is to get faster and then means starting to incorporate some workouts with real speed intervals. My next half marathon training plan will definitely incorporate speed work and I think my non-training plan running for the next few months is going to include one speed/interval/hill type workout.

This is the first time I’ve ever done any kind of pacing interval of any kind, so I started with something small and easy. To celebrate the occasion, I wore my Doctor Who “Companion Training” tech shirt for the first time:

This is pic is in no way actually relevant to this post's content - just sharing the geek love :)

This is pic is in no way actually relevant to this post’s content – just sharing the geek love πŸ™‚

I got it back when I got my Tardis medal for my virtual half marathon and taking the Doctor along on my new adventure seemed like a good idea. For my first outing, I decided to start simple and just worry about hitting a certain level of exertion during my “high” intervals, rather than a certain pace. This was because a) I’m not sure how “fast” my higher pace would be as I don’t ever really run fast; b) it was dark, so I couldn’t really read the Garmin easily; and c) I don’t know that I’m coordinated enough to read a pace on a watch face while running faster than usual. That seemed like a recipe for a face plant if ever there was one!

I planned on a five minute warm up and cool down and then intervals of 30 seconds at an “8” level of intensity, on 1-10 scale, if I thought of my normal running pace as a 6, with recovery jogs or walks for 1 minute between intervals and I planned on 6 intervals tonight. Starting small seemed wise, since I’ve never done anything like this. I used the run/walk interval setting on the Garmin as a timing device.

I had to consciously slow myself down a little during my warm up. I am just so used to heading out to run at a single pace that I’ve never thought much about how a warm up should be easier and gentler than the rest of the run. A minute or so into warming up, I remembered that and slowed down so I could really have the energy to do the speedier intervals like I wanted to.

The first “high” interval, I felt like I was flying, I was moving so much faster than normal! It was really fun. Looking at the data from the Garmin, that first interval I got down to 8:13 pace, which is probably the fastest I’ve ever run, even for a short burst. πŸ™‚ The subsequent intervals were in the 9-9:30 range for the “highs” and 10-10:30 range for recovery (although I did walk one recovery). I can honestly say the exertion level stayed at an 8 for every burst, even if my pace slowed a little by intervals 5 and 6. It was a really interesting experiment. I’m particularly intrigued by the fact that I was moving faster in the recovery breaks than I have been on my last couple of runs (slowed down to a 11-12 minute pace since the break I took for my toe – I’m just so stiff!).

I was also amazed at how much harder it felt like I’d worked when I got back to the house. All together, I covered less than 2 miles and yet I felt like my heart rate was up and I was a little winded for far longer than I do after longer runs. The speed intervals were definitely work, even these little beginner steps, so I think this will be good for me from a cardiovascular fitness/calorie burn perspective as well as from a speed perspective. My legs are also sore today, which is really odd for me after such a short run!

I think for the next month or two, with no big races on the horizon, I’ll incorporate some speed work like this once a week (working up to longer “high” intervals and learning to hit and maintain certain paces), plus a longer run of 4-6 miles at an easy pace and then one other run of whatever style/distance I feel like doing to still have some room for spontaneity and fun. This was definitely fun.

Speaking of fun, remember how I said that part of what me smile on Tuesday was knowing I had a pizza and movie date with O? I learned something valuable that night. Do not hand your two year old an entire bag of cheese, tell him to put cheese on the pizzas and then walk away! In his defense, he did do exactly what I said to do and put the the cheese on the pizza. Every bit of it. πŸ™‚


How did you get started with speed work? Any favorite workouts?


9 responses to “Dipping a toe into some speed(ish) intervals

  1. YAY speedwork!! I love speed work, especially intervals mixed with inclines (I do my speedwork on the TM)! It’s seriously amazing how easy your normal pace is afterwards. It like that feeling if you wear ankle weights for a long time then take them off and suddenly you feel so much lighter! Speedwork keeps me sane during my training as well. I cannot just do every.single.run at one pace. Variety is a good thing! :0)

  2. Haha, we must be on the same wavelength, I added in some speed this week too! Laughed out loud at the pizza cheese!

  3. Ellie says:

    Oh my! The cheese is hilarious!! πŸ™‚

  4. […] been able to check a few things off of my goal list for the month/year, including starting some speed work and figuring out what my non-training plan running will look like. While this week’s runs […]

  5. Jen Mitchell says:

    I recently added speed work to my running schedule too. Lately I’ve been doing one minute of fast (for me about an 11:00 minute pace) with two minutes of recovery (usually 13:00 minute pace). I’m hoping it pays off in my 10k and half marathon training that I’ll be doing this year.

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