Saturday, June 20, 2009


I have this problem that my running partner is now completely leaving me in the dust. Part of my problem is consistancy, which I'm working on. But Running Partner E. also likes to sprint the last several blocks (or miles) of our run. She also does things like run faster up hills. She seems to enjoy running into the wind. I do not like to do these things. We are obviously very different types of runners.

But I do like running with E. We get each other out the door. And so I feel that I must get faster. Which means, speedwork.

I don't really know that much about speedwork. From what I've read on blogs here and there, quite a few folks run speedwork intervals at tracks for 400 or 800 meters. And they are supposed to help you get faster. And then there are these things called fartleks. There, I've exhausted my knowledge.

Well, there aren't any tracks near me, at least that I know about. I also have absolutely no idea how fast I should try to run a given interval. I'm quite the slow poke, generally running 12:30-13:00 minute miles still. So I should be shooting for what? In the past I've tried the sprinting from light pole to light pole a few times. That was ok, but it seemed kind of random.

So, what to do?

The past couple weeks, I've been playing a bit with and the Cool Running pace calculator, looking at different road distances near me and trying to figure out how long it would take me to run a given distance, assuming a 11:30 minute mile. In doing this, I discovered that some of the paths at a nearby park give some nice, even, short distances.

And so Theresa's speedwork plan was born!

In The Meadows, there are these three paths that make a triangle loop and together add up to 0.5 miles (Jawbone Walk, Middle Meadow Walk, and the path along the road between them). Jawbone Walk is 0.2 miles, which makes the other two sides together 0.3 miles! (Yay, for basic math skills! Although I still measured all the sides on, because I am a dork.)

So my plan is this: To run speedwork intervals first using the 0.2 mile Jawbone Walk segment as the bit that I sprint, with the remaining 0.3 for recovery. Then move up to using the 0.3 segment for sprints, and eventually moving up to using the whole 0.5 miles for sprint intervals. Simple, right?

Tonight was my trial run. I figured, given the slow poke that I am, shooting to run Jawbone Walk (the 0.2 mile segment) at an 11:30 min/mile pace was reasonable, which meant I would need to run it in 2:18 minutes.

I ran the loop twice, sprinting as fast as I thought I could along Jawbone Walk. Which was not pleasant. My stomach started hurting very quickly, and by the end, I had a stitch in my side. My times for the 0.2 mile sprints: 1:54 and 1:49 minutes which work out to around a 9:30 min/mile or faster. What?!?! Ok, I know it's only 0.2 miles, but that's way crazy faster than I thought I could run!

Assuming tonight wasn't a complete fluke, and I didn't miscalculate, I now have a baseline. Still, a 9:30 min/mile pace? Next week, I'm going to try to run the loop four times, with a 10 min/mile pace for the Jawbone Walk sprint segments. That still seems wildly fast for me, but I guess it's possible if it's only 0.2 miles.

Enough about speedwork. Tomorrow, pictures of someplace new that I went today!


Xenia said...

YAY!!! So proud of you. Welcome to the self flagellation club.

Keziah Fenton said...

Good job Dr T! It's so cool to have a visual on your routes.
I'm working on 8km power walks - four days a week. I occasionally toss in a few minutes of running just to spice things up :D