Wednesday, January 6, 2016

"TIME" To Go Fast

This is the follow up on my previous article “Going the Distance”, if you happened to miss it you can read it here.

Now that you have accomplished and built a lot of miles under your belt, what’s next? You want to run fast…and who doesn’t? You want to let everybody know that you are the Usain Bolt of long distance running. It’s easy to go fast but the problem is how long can you hold it? This is where you introduce the timed run or simply the “speed intervals” during your training. Most runners will perform this type of exercise at least once a week on the track as they can easily measure the distance (1 lap = 400 meters; 4 laps = 1600 meters = 1 Mile) and clock how fast they can run it. There are so many variations in doing the speed intervals, below are just few examples:
·         12 x 400 (2 min RI)
·         4 x 800 (2 min RI)
·         5 x 1200 (400 RI)
·         1200, 1000, 800, 600, 400, (200 RI)

*RI: Rest Intervals 

Gym is no longer my playground 
If going in circles makes you gaga, then you can also do this in an open area like a bike trail or not so congested street in your neighborhood. You need to mark your distances and you need to be aware of your surroundings and not cause any accidents to yourself or somebody else. So be CAREFUL! Performing speed interval varies depending on the distance you’re training for. If you want a structured program then there are books and resources out there that you can use, the Hanson’s Marathon Method, Run Less Run Faster and Hal Higdon to name a few.

So how do I start? Most of the running books that I have read base their speed interval programs on the 5k run.  If you haven’t done so, you need to do a few 5k’s first. Take note of the time it took you to finish the 5k, since you will use this as your base time to know the required “target time” to run the 400, 800, 1200, 1600 etch. You can also utilize the time/s that you have in 10k or ½ M as this will give you more accurate number. So, say that your 5k finish time is 0:22:00 (7:06/mi), as you can see on the example below that when doing speed interval, the program will require you to run 6:49/mi which is a bit faster than your 5k pace.

*5K Time

*Note: taken from Run Less Run Faster

Why do it? You don’t want to be just locked in the second gear from start to finish, right? Though speed interval is brutal and regarded as the most hated training exercise by most runners, it has the biggest rate of return when you want to improve your running. It gives you the variability and adaptation that your body needs when running at higher speed. Your body gets more conditioned and more efficient in processing the oxygen and gets your muscle stronger.  When my program calls for it, I know it’s going to hurt and it’s going to be painful no matter how I sliced it. But this is a necessary evil that every runner must do in order to run fast…not unless you’re genetically gifted and things are just like a walk in a park. So, let’s get out there and sweat it will hurt but it’s worth it!

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