After I ran a PR at the Mistletoe Half Marathon last month, I’ve been motivated to actually train and push myself leading up to race day to see if I could get even faster if I ran a half marathon in the spring. I’ve learned from previous half marathons that I am prone to injury if I run every day or even 5 days a week, as many plans recommend. So I typically stick to 3-4 days of running.
My training currently looks like this:
- Monday: 3 miles, easy pace
- Wednesday: 4-6 miles, intervals/tempo
- Saturday: Long run – I started at 5 miles and have added 1 mile each week (and plan back down to a 3 miler every 3 weeks for extra recovery)
I’m trying to do yoga and weight training on the other days and take 1-2 complete rest days a week. For my mid-week run, I do intervals anywhere from half a mile to a full mile. The intervals are tough, but make the workout go by much faster. When I get tired, I tell myself, “The longer I hold this pace, the sooner I’ll reach the next mile mark and can slow down.”
Even if you’re not training for a race, there are other reasons to kick up your pace:
- Speed training strengthens your muscles in different ways than long, slow runs. I swear my hamstrings get stronger and more defined when I do speed work, even more quickly than when I do traditional hamstring exercises in the weight room.
- Interval work increases your calorie burn even after you’re done working out. Increased metabolism even when I’m not running? Yes please.
- Ego boost. Plain and simple. 😉
I’ve been doing most of my interval work on the treadmill because it’s so dark before and after work. Long, slow runs on a treadmill are misery for me, but I actually really like speedwork on the treadmill because it forces me to hold a faster pace. I have to manually change the speed or step off the belt if I want to slow down whereas outside, I often back off the pace without even realizing it.
Training outside is very important when training for a race so I make sure to do my long runs on the pavement. And when I have more daylight hours, I’ll start doing more interval and tempo work outside too so I can train my body to hold the pace without the treadmill’s help.
Here was my interval workout last Wednesday.
Mile 0 – 1: Warm up, very easy pace
Mile 1 – 2: 7:30 minute/mile
Mile 2 – 3: recovery pace (9:15 – 9:30 minute mile)
Mile 3 – 4: 7:15 minute/mile
Mile 4 – 4.5: recovery pace
Mile 4.5 – 5.0: 7:00 minute/mile pace
Mile 5 – 6: Cool down, very easy pace
This week I’m going to work on doing longer intervals at a slightly slower pace, which is really more of a tempo run than an interval workout. I’m not sure I can hold sub-eight minute miles for more than 1 mile at a time when I don’t have race-day adrenaline, so we’ll see how it goes!