Every runner knows how effective speed work is in their training. They also know how horrible it is but know it needs to be done.
I mistimed getting my entry in for the Alloa Half Marathon with entries already closed by the time I went to put mine in. With the removal of a long distance race from my schedule, I have decided to run the Errol 6k that day instead and so today it seemed like a good idea to work on my speed instead of going for a longer distance. I have done 1km drills before and found them to be tough but good so I went out to do them this morning.
I headed for the Rhynd Road at the Bridge of Earn side, where there is a Kilometre officially measured out with signs at either end of the distance on a straight part of the road. I had thought of going for 10 repetitions with 60 seconds recoveries. By the time I had arrived there, I realised that it probably wasn’t a good idea to hit the first mile hard and keep a steady pace before the start of the drills! I also remembered whilst performing the drills that I had built up to the distance previously by getting used to 400m before building up to 600m, 800m then finally 1km. I also remembered that it had been a while since doing this style of training – probably a year when training for London! Not one to complain, I zipped up my mansuit and got on with them even though the pace wasn’t brilliant. I decided to stop after 8 reps as I felt the pace was slowing right down and I wasn’t able to hit them hard. In some respects, the 8 reps I did were effective as my legs felt dead by the end. Jogging back home was fun as it had started snowing by this point.
My learning from today was that in future I will drive out there first, or do the drills closer to home, and so the warm up can be a mile or so as 7km was probably a bit far for my stage of fitness just now. I need to focus on my performance during the drills and so I won’t be feeling the pace before I start! Next time, I might reduce the distance to 800m or do some pyramid distances of 400m, 600m, 800m, 1000m, 1200m then back down for variation. I will also need to increase my recovery times until I’m doing them regularly and improving. It was good to do the session today to see where I’m at and where I need to improve on in order to get better and run faster.
If you are looking to improve your running speed, it’s good to try these kind of drills but you need to make sure you know where to start from and how you can progress the workout as you progress yourself. Get it right and you’ll see a huge difference in your performance.