While we were marathon training, my friend and I discussed that we wanted to finish the marathon, but after that, we wanted to focus on our other running goal – running faster. We’ve often dreamed of a sub-2-hour half-marathon finish, I have been hoping to run a 5k in under 27 minutes, and I really want to beat a 1:30 ten miler time. I also dream of being able to run with my speedy husband, or my speedy sister.
I’m signed up for two more half-marathons this year, and I’m running both of them alone-ish. My husband is running one with me (along with a few friends), but mostly, I’m not running them with any of my runner friends. We are talking about having children eventually, and I don’t know how many more opportunities I will have to run half-marathons, especially considering the chances that I have a bad race are pretty high, since I’ve had a lot of not-great races lately.
I’ve been saying for years that I want to get faster, but I’ve never actually wanted to put in the work. Last summer I went to local track workouts during the summer a couple of times, and I think it would be helpful to go to those again this year, but it kept being REALLY hot (like, 105 degrees), and I don’t do well in heat. So this year, I decided to use the best tool I have for speed training at my disposal – my treadmill.
I have a love-hate relationship with my treadmill. The treadmill was great when I didn’t belong to a gym, but I mostly would just load up last night’s daily show, walk on the treadmill for 30-40 minutes, and then call it a morning. I hate-hate-hate-hate running on the treadmill. It is sooooo boring. I know I’m not the only one that complains about this.
So I rolled out of bed the week after the week after the marathon, and I started interval training. In track workouts, we had started by simply running one track loop really fast, and then recovering for about 2 minutes, then running another loop fast, then recovering. I decided to adopt this model, sort of, and so I ran .25 mile sprints, and then recovered for about .125 miles. On my treadmill, this is manifested by a loop graphic that shows where I am on some imaginary “track”, so I run a full one of those, then I recover for half of one of those. My first few training runs were done at a level 7 or 7.5 pace, with recovery walking at a level 3.5 or 4 pace. I’ve now stepped it up to intervals at a level 8 pace, with slow jog recovery at a level 5 pace. My regular running pace on the treadmill is between a 6 and a 6.5, to give you an idea.
I’m not sure yet what the long-term effects will be of this training – I’m hoping both my ability to breathe and to process lactic acid will improve, but I’m not sure yet. I’m encouraged that last week I managed to run about 2 miles straight at an 8:30 pace, but my long run over the weekend had me running at more than 10-minute-miles. I need to be doing more long runs with my super-speedy friend E., or perhaps with my watch so I can keep an eye on my pacing. I will say, absolutely, that interval training has improved my relationship with my treadmill. I no longer hate it. I love it for making me push myself so hard, and the intervals make my workouts much more interesting. I’ll be putting together a speed-running playlist soon, which I will share here (suggestions welcome).
Does anyone have any suggestions for other interval workouts I should be trying? I think longer sprints are in my future.