Hello! I’m Liana from Run To Munch!
I can talk endlessly about myself but I know you would prefer something more entertaining.
So lets talk about running. There’s two ways to improve, you either run further or faster and if you’re really lucky, you get both!
I ran my first half marathon in 2011 (Boston’s Run To Remember) at 1:48:45 by 2012 I cut my time to 1:38:46 on the same course. I wish I could say I quit my job and devoted my life to running, but that would be a lie. Instead, I got smarter (with my running that is).
To get faster you need speed workouts.
The traditional tempo runs and track workouts make me want to hang up my running shoes on an electrical wire and never look back.
First let’s get the definitions out of the way.
A tempo run is sustained effort training runs, usually 20 to 30 minutes in length (but could be longer if you’re marathon training), at 10 to 15 seconds per mile slower than 10-K race pace (if you’re marathon training). For example my 10K pace is 6:52 so my tempo run would be about 7 minute miles continuously.
Ugh sounds painful to me. Instead, I’ve come up with alternatives that I can do on the treadmill or outdoors!
Mile repeats – These can be painful but less painful than say the dreaded tempo run so I deal with it. This workout was first popularized back in the late 1970s by athletes such as Alberto Salazar (yes he’s a fast one). The mile should be ran at your race pace which can be hard, but just remind yourself that after that mile you get a few minutes of a walk or jog to rest up before you repeat. How many mile repeats you do, depends on your race distance but I like doing 6-7.
Hill Repeats – Hills get a bad rep but they’re actually a ton of fun. Okay, maybe running up isn’t fun but think of the fun you have as you blaze down the hill afterwards!
Before you know, every time you drive you’ll be thinking, gosh! I wish I could just get out of this car and just run up that baby!
Intervals Similar to mile repeats but shorter distance. I like the sound of 5 minutes. 5 minutes gives you enough time to get comfortable but not too comfortable to space out. This was also the first speed workout I learned when I started running. I went from 6MPH (10 minute miles) to 6.5MPH (9:14 minute miles). Within a few weeks, I was doing 6.5MPH without my slower interval. You might want to raise your speed on the slower interval but try your best to stick with the easy half to save up your energy for the faster portion.
Progressive run This one is one of my favorites! Start at a comfortable (VERY comfortable) pace and slowly every half a mile or mile move up your speed. You can either keep going or what I like to do is after 3 miles, repeat. Below is an example of a workout I do at least once a week since it’s my current addiction.
1 minute tempo run – I read about this one in Running Times and thought it was perfect for someone whose attention span is shorter than the time it takes to type attention span. Doing 30 minutes of consistent tempo is a little hard, painful and boring (to me). Doing 1 minute is fun! So I run 1 minute hard, 1 minute less hard. I don’t go down to a jog pace, but it’s definitely a little slower than race pace.
There you go, five alternatives to avoid skipping your speed workout. At the end of the day it’s all about effort. You want to make sure that on your “speed” day, you are exerting more effort per mile than you would be on an easy run or even say a long run.
Before you know it, you’ll be finding your inner speed demon.
Okay so you might not be as fast as these two pretty ladies but I know that your personal and my personal best is still out there!
- How have you approached trying to run FASTER or FURTHER?
Liana is a runner and an ultra-runner wannabe from the Boston area. She loves to eat, run and travel. If you want to know more about her training and random tidbits of randomness check out her blog RunToMunch