So yesterday's workout involved some miles before work on the treadmill watching tv (i.e. my favorite thing in the whole world to do. NOT being sarcastic). And then some more miles at Milestone's Wednesday Run Club for a grand total of 9 miles. Since Tuesday night was a crazy hard workout (the kind that you wake up the next morning and feel like you got hit by a truck), I try to be kind to myself on Wednesdays. While I have HATED the heat in SD this summer (think sauna running- a concept that I guarantee will never catch on), I will miss the daylight!
So I think one of the most common convos I have with people is about speed and running. Obviously speed is important to running or else we wouldn't care who came in first or last at a race, right? So when you are new to running, it seems like that's the easiest/best gauge that you're getting better, right? Not so fast. Literally.
Speed is just one element of running- but definitely not the most important part of running. Speed is the check you write- but if you don't have the base/endurance in the bank - it's gonna bounce. Before you can go out writing checks and throwing dolla bills around, you need to get your base miles and your endurance in the bank. The biggest focus when you start running should be on working on your endurance and being consistent daily. The speed starts coming together soon after. There's a reason why when you marathon train, you do base miles before you start working on speed or strength.
Once you have been running for a while- that's a good time to throw in one speed workout a week- whether it be a track workout or a tempo run. They will get your legs moving quick in no time. They don't have to be a torture device but you can start where you are and go from there. Tempo runs are currently my drug of choice and they should be run at 20 seconds better than your goal pace in a race. So before my last marathon I was doing them for 6-8 miles at 7:00-7:14 pace. Because my last training cycle was way short and abbreviated with so many races (4 races in the 2 month training cycle)- I only was able to get up to 8 miles after starting with 6 miles. When I start my next marathon training cycle for Boston, which will be MUCH longer, I most likely will start at 4 miles- but at a faster speed- 6:45 min/mile and then build a half mile a week until I'm able to sustain that longer. (I just decided on this last night, ps - and I think it's a great idea!)
So let's say you actually start picking up speed. Don't get too excited right yet. Speed is great- but you don't need to go all out in it for the gold medal on every run. I know wayyy too many people who then try to push themselves to their max too often in every run. Maybe I'm conservative, but I only run hard two workouts a week (track and tempo) and every other run is done really easy, breezy. I haven't been injured running as an adult and I think that more than genetics, that the reason I haven't dealt with injuries is because most of my runs are done stupid easy. Like it would literally be impossible to get injured with how chill I take my runs. I also think I get better quality out of my speed workouts because I'm not taxing myself with every run I do. Sure, my distance is high (usually 60-70 miles a week)- but most runs I do are pretty laid-back. Maybe a coach will yell at me in the future for how slow I let myself run my daily runs, but I feel like if it's working for me now, and if I'm gaining speed and not getting injured- why mess with a good thing?! ;-) Speed is for races- and you don't need to be racing yourself everyday.
So don't get discouraged if you're not seeing the speed yet. I remember back when I first started running and I saw 7:30 pace register on my watch for a split second during a track workout and I got WAY excited (i.e. that was my sprint pace). You improve so much with consistency- that pace for me now is slower than what I did my last two half marathons in. Focus on putting in those miles and the speed will follow soon after! This is a great article written by San Diego coach, Jim McNevin on quantity v. quality (i.e. endurance v. speed).
So I read this interview with Shalane Flanagan- only the second fastest American female marathoner ever, after her incredible performance at Berlin- and I love that she always puts her huge goals out there- super public. Reach for the moon- even if you'll miss you'll land among the stars. While she didn't hit either of the two goals she was going for- 1. a female American win at Boston and 2. an American record in the marathon at Berlin, she got crazy PR's at both races and is now the second fastest American female marathoner in history. Pretty cool.
We just got our photos from Rosarito- Puerto Nuevo Half Marathon. This is how I prefer to be captured- while I still maintained my dignity, though short-lived. First mile. Fastest mile. RIP decent mile splits. A couple miles after this photo was taken, I passed a lil pack of stray dogs, one started chasing me, and I was at such a low moment in the race, that I didn't think it would be the worst thing ever if he caught me...
Have a great day- and get out there and run! ;-)