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Three Weeks of Speed

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Three Weeks of Speed

Post  Mike MacLellan on Tue Sep 11, 2012 1:19 pm

I'm going to try to keep this as brief as possible (ha). I've just finished 4 base weeks of 10k training culminating in a 6x 1mi @6:00-6:03 (10k goal pace) w/ 3:00-3:30 recoveries today. The workout went relatively well, though I think I did my recoveries too hard and too short, which may have caused my last mile to fall apart the way it did. Basically, by the last mile, I couldn't get my turnover any faster, so I was trying to open my stride instead. This didn't really work. I tried to get up onto my toes, forcing that higher turnover, but the legs just didn't have that staying power in them.

So, I'm now moving into 3 weeks of speedwork. My goal during this period is to really improve my turnover, my leg strength, and start working on that staying power. I can do up to 2 workouts per week, plus strides. Two weeks from Thursday, I'll be doing a 1x 2mi + 4x 1mi @10k pace workout, so that's one of the workouts that week.

My question:
What are the best workouts I can do to improve upon my weaknesses?
Should I focus on shorter, faster intervals with longer recovery? Or something more even, like 1min @5k/1min easy? Or both?
Note: I've completed 1 speed workout so far, 10x 30sec @1-2k w/ 2.5min active recoveries.

Thanks all.
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Re: Three Weeks of Speed

Post  Michele "1L" Keane on Tue Sep 11, 2012 2:36 pm

Add some agility drills. These have done wonders for me (even in my old age).
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Re: Three Weeks of Speed

Post  Dave-O on Tue Sep 11, 2012 3:22 pm

20 x 400m with 1:00 standing recovery at 5k pace

8 x 400m, maximum effort, with full recovery (however long needed)
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Re: Three Weeks of Speed

Post  Mike MacLellan on Tue Sep 11, 2012 3:32 pm

Michele - Can you be more specific?

Dave - Should I go for even splits on the 8x 400m? Or should I expect to see myself bleeding time towards the end?
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Re: Three Weeks of Speed

Post  mul21 on Tue Sep 11, 2012 4:28 pm

I'm not sure what Dave is saying, but when I used to do workouts like that it was always mile race pace. I would shoot for 75 or less if I was you. That doesn't sound all that bad at first but you may be screaming for your momma by #6 even with full recoveries.
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Re: Three Weeks of Speed

Post  Mike MacLellan on Tue Sep 11, 2012 4:33 pm

Jim - You think I race a 5:00 mile? I'm thinking ~5:10 pace for start and we'll go from there...
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Re: Three Weeks of Speed

Post  mul21 on Tue Sep 11, 2012 4:51 pm

@Mike MacLellan wrote:Jim - You think I race a 5:00 mile? I'm thinking ~5:10 pace for start and we'll go from there...

I think it's close enough to all out that it'll be a great workout. And yes, you'd be really close to a 5:00 mile. I ran a 37:25 10K the summer between my sophomore and junior year of high school and was a sub-5:00 miler. You may not be able to do it right now, but if you raced a mile 5 or 6 times and figured out the strategy, I have little doubt you'd hit it.
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Re: Three Weeks of Speed

Post  Michele "1L" Keane on Tue Sep 11, 2012 5:57 pm

Yes, sorry - the phone rang. I'm talking about pylometrics, butt kicks, skipping and bounding drills. There was a recent article in Running Times which I bet you can find on line as I certainly can't describe them that easily.

http://www.runningplanet.com/training/plyometrics.html

http://www.pponline.co.uk/encyc/speed-training-bounding-improve-performance-154
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Re: Three Weeks of Speed

Post  Mike MacLellan on Tue Sep 11, 2012 6:32 pm

Jim - Well, that was a summer goal that kind of got left behind with the cycling training I was doing... Hmmm...

Michele - Would you recommend these on recovery days? Easy days?
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Re: Three Weeks of Speed

Post  Dave-O on Tue Sep 11, 2012 6:38 pm

@Mike MacLellan wrote:

Dave - Should I go for even splits on the 8x 400m? Or should I expect to see myself bleeding time towards the end?

I would expect your splits to more or less be even. The first 2 may be a second or two slower than expected as you work down to "maximum" pace. The last two will hurt but I wouldn't expect much drop-off.

@mul21 wrote:I'm not sure what Dave is saying, but when I used to do workouts like that it was always mile race pace. I would shoot for 75 or less if I was you. That doesn't sound all that bad at first but you may be screaming for your momma by #6 even with full recoveries.

Last time I did this workout I ran all 64's and 65's. Then about 2 weeks later I ran a 1 mile time trial and ran 4:38. So I was about 3-4 seconds faster on the 400's than what 1 mile pace would have been. Though to be fair, the mile time trial was on a shitty track that's more square than circle, so I was probably capable of a faster mile.
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Re: Three Weeks of Speed

Post  Chris M on Tue Sep 11, 2012 8:05 pm

I would never want to do a track workout with lots of repeats where my last repeat or two were not my fastest. I think there's real injury danger in doing speedwork at such a level that your pace degrades badly during the workout. Slower at first and build into the max. I would have a big red flag if I did 20 x 400 and the last 5 were slower than the preceding 15. In fact, I would stop the workout if it was headed that way. Much better to finish STRONG. Do em in sets of 4 (1:30, 1:28, 1:25, 1:22, ALL OUT)
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Re: Three Weeks of Speed

Post  Jerry on Tue Sep 11, 2012 10:38 pm

Don't forget that one can still train high turn over in slow pace. Run light with quick turn over, not necessarily fast pace is a skill. I once warmed up with a 1:05 half marathoner at same pace 8:00+. I was jogging and he was floating on the grass. You see the difference.

One the pace run, I would not finish with slowing down. Finishing feeling good is important to me, not only for confidence, but also better muscle memorize the pace. With workouts faster and slower, the pace run is a mental exercise. So is the race.

The end.
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Re: Three Weeks of Speed

Post  Mike MacLellan on Wed Sep 12, 2012 10:50 am

Sounds good, everyone. Thanks for the plentiful advice. These track workouts are still a foreign thing to me, but I'm enjoying them quite a bit, so far.

Last question: does it matter what order I do these in? It seems like the 20x 400m would be better approaching a 5k TT (Oct 11) whereas the 8x 400m all out would be better earlier on. Right?
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Re: Three Weeks of Speed

Post  Michele "1L" Keane on Wed Sep 12, 2012 10:54 am

Actually, I usually do them before and after a track workout. But you could do them at anytime. They can look kind of ridiculous too. Another suggestion is to add 10 or so striders to the end of or after a recovery run. When I do a recovery run and get back to my car - I usually grab some water, walk a bit, and then do a few striders in the parking lot. These are done as short accelerations - 20-25 yds or so where you speed up and then slow down. Don't force them and they can definitely help with turnover.
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Re: Three Weeks of Speed

Post  Admin on Wed Sep 12, 2012 10:56 am

I'll just throw this in for good measure: be sure to warm up properly before you hit the speed workouts. You want the muscles loose with good blood flow before the first repeat. I'd recommend at least 2-3 miles of really light jogging, but a minimum of 20 mins light aerobic work. You should at least break a slight sweat before you start...

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Re: Three Weeks of Speed

Post  Mark B on Wed Sep 12, 2012 12:44 pm

Also: Remember that going fast burns up glycogen at a phenomenal rate. Make sure to refuel soon, and often.
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Re: Three Weeks of Speed

Post  Mike MacLellan on Wed Sep 12, 2012 12:53 pm

Michele - Okay, sounds good. I'll incorporate some of the bounding stuff into my warm-up before an "easier" track workout. I'd already planned to switch from hill sprints to strides starting next week.

Matt - My track is 2.25mi from my house, so an ~20min warm-up is never a problem. Smile

Mark - Yep, especially with my almost-3-years of fat-burning emphasis, it's a whole new animal. I packed away ~500cal after my run (+100 during) yesterday, but I think my subsequent meals weren't enough. It was, after all, 11mi total.

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Re: Three Weeks of Speed

Post  Ben Z on Fri Sep 21, 2012 3:07 pm

I'm going to post about it soon but I've seen good progress with doing a high volume of really short, fast repeats. Then pretty short, moderate recoveries. What you might see called diagonals or 'pickups' in some training-related articles.

The last handful of weeks I've done the following workouts:


  1. 12 x 1 min 'on' (5kish pace I think), 1 min 'off' (easy pace) in the middle of a 10 mile 'easy' run
  2. 12 x 400m @ 5k pace, 400m recovery at an 'easy' pace
  3. 16 x 1 min on, 1 min off
  4. 5 x 300m all out uphill, 3-4 min walk back recovery
  5. 24 x 200m @ 5k-3k pace, 200m easy recovery
  6. 30 x 120m strides (5k-3k pace), 100m easy recovery

The one thing I really tried to do was build from one week to the next. Start with an 'easy' session like the 12 x 1 min work I did and then build up to a challenging session. Keep increasing the stimulus. However, the 24 x 200m workout, for me, was a lot tougher than the 30 x 120m strides I did last week. Makes sense as the total volume was higher I suppose.

Finally, if planning to do 8 * 400m all-out be very careful. That's a really tough workout for someone not used to track work. I too get really beat up after track sessions and a few weeks ago when I did 5 * 300m uphill all-out I was really sore for almost three days afterwards. My old hips were not used to that kind of work.
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Re: Three Weeks of Speed

Post  Mike MacLellan on Fri Sep 21, 2012 5:25 pm

Funny you should mention some of those, Ben. The 12x 1min on/off is my workout for Sunday (10mi run), and I just assigned some hill repeats to my girlfriend for next week. Might have to fudge with my TT (or not give it much credence) a bit in order to fit enough workouts in before it. Or just do some after, too.
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