Saturday, December 22, 2007

An Experiment with Speed

No, not that kind of speed... although, given my low level of tolerance for the craziness that is the holiday season, it probably wouldn't take much to tempt me.

But nevermind that.

The point is, last week, for the very first time in my running career (which is going on a solid five years now), I did what could be technically described as speed drills. Now, I know what you're thinking: six feet tall women and speed are not meant to mix. And technically, you'd be right. But when I say "speed", I'm not talking "faster than a speeding bullet" kind of speed. More like "could outrun a small poodle if my pants were on fire" kind of speed.

But nevermind that.

The point is, for the very first time, I went out for a run and intentionally-- as opposed to accidentally-- ran fast. Really fast. Not for very long at a time, mind you. In fact, each sprint interval lasted only thirty seconds and by the end of those thirty seconds, I was sucking so much wind I might as well have been one of these. After each interval, I had to stop completely in my tracks, bend over and hold my head between my knees to keep from passing out.

But nevermind that.

The point is, over the course of 6.2 miles, I managed seven thirty-second sprint intervals, preceeded and followed up with 15 minutes of warm-up and cool-down. I think I may have overdone it just a little; two or three sprint intervals would probably have been more than sufficient for a first-timer. But, as with anything else when it comes to running, once I get a hair-brained idea in my head, I go all out. And as always, whenever I get a hair-brained idea when it comes to running and go all out, the next morning I woke up feeling like I'd miraculously aged 75 years overnight.

But nevermind that.

The point is, the experiment was a successful one and served as a perfect springboard for my next round of marathon training starting the first week of January. This would be the round of training that's going to get me across the finish line of my next marathon with a substantial PR. This would be the marathon finish that will give me the ridiculously hair-brained idea that just maybe, down the road at some point in the future I may actually qualify to run in Boston.

But nevermind that.


robison52 said...

Congrats on your addition of speedwork, great idea to spur your fast twitch muscles to help push you in your next marathon. The 30 seconds very fast running sounds like what's known as "strides."

From the book, "Advanced Marathoning:" Running short repetitions quickly but with relaxed form --strideouts--may train your muscles to eliminate unnecessary movements and maintain control at fast speeds. These adaptations may translate to improved economy at marathon pace. Along with improved running form, you'll gain power in your legs and trunk that may also contribute to improved running economy." --Pete Pfitzinger

Ovens2Betsy said...

Way to go Angie! I too will start incorporating speed drills into my training once I recover from Goofy. I'm already seeing a slight improvement in my time just from my increased mileage and running the entire way instead of taking walk breaks (go figure). I'm keeping my fingers crossed that I remain injury-free (and hope you do too).

Christie said...

Good luck with your training :)

See Zanne Run said...

oh i love it ... good for you! i am so familiar with that bent over head between your legs thing so you dont pass out. good times.

Charlie said...

Speed is all good!

Merry Christmas Speed Freak! :o)

P.O.M. said...

I'm afraid of speed work. My first attempt ended with a calf injury. My 2nd attempt, knee. Haven't even thought about a third. Maybe after my half in Feb.

Keep it up :)

Non-Runner Nancy said...

Most excellent!! Just be careful.

I recently tried hills for the first addition to my slow and slower repertoire!

Bev said...

Sounds like my super 8 workout. 8 all out gut wrenching sprints for 30 seconds each. I don't do those sprints while I'm running 6 miles, so you are totally awesome. Sprint workouts really help my endurance.