Friday, September 5, 2008

Getting Started with Speedwork

Yesterday was our first venture into doing speedwork, as the group elected to switch over to it a little earlier than the Running Room's plan indicated. We were originally supposed to do another hill training session, but the long run route used on Sunday will incorporate a few significant hills so the instructor felt that this was the better approach.

After the talk on heart rate training, we headed out of the store and ran down to the track at a local high school (about 2.5km away). Once there, we stopped and stretched while the instructor outlined the plan. Rather than just jump in with the 2x1600m session that the original plan called for, we instead did some smaller work and will build up to that in the coming weeks. In this case, we started with a lap around the track, then did six 100m intervals. Once that was complete, we stopped to get the group back together and then did two more quick 110m runs (with a walking recovery between them) alongside each other. Upon completion of the speedwork, we stopped briefly, stretched a bit more and then started the run back to the store.

Overall, I think that the session went quite well. Looking back at the telemetry and comparing it to the Fartlek sessions earlier in the week, I probably could have pushed a bit harder. Not having done a lot of high-intensity/short distance running like this it is likely to take a little while to get a feel for the right level of effort to put into it.

Next week the plan is to step up to 400m intervals, which will certainly need a good deal more strategy to get the right pace down. I'll likely try to do some longer bursts of speed during the Fartleks this week, and hopefully that will help to pin down what range I should be targeting.

Other than that, the plan is to attempt the full 21.1km distance this Sunday so that will certainly be an interesting session as well. Fortunately, it is looking like it will be substantially cooler than it has been in the past few weeks so that should help a lot. Unfortunately, the rain that is forecast today has limited my ability to ride so I was only able to get about 40km in before it started spitting (although a substantial (~30km/h) headwind made for a pretty good workout).

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