18 January 2013

Hitting the Track

Back in October, I joined the Integrate Performance Fitness track workouts. IPF is the same gang I worked out with on the bike and for strength - they train a well-rounded group of endurance athletes. The group meets both Monday and Wednesday, although I decided to start slower with one time per week for now. This is my first experience with coached track workouts; I'm enjoying the group of people a ton and I'm convinced the speed work has already helped me in my fall races. Even more exciting? I picked up a lighter shoe, the Mizuno Elixir 7, to work into during track workouts and wore them for the first time this week. I've never, ever run in something so light.

New shoes!

We've done a few different workouts, such as 400m repeats, 800m repeats, shorter sprints like 100m and 200m combo nights, and one of my favorites we call 5-4-3-2-1 hill repeats. In the last one, we use a small hill at the edge of the track. The workout looks like this: Sprint uphill and slow downhill 5x, do a combination of strength exercises like russian twists, push-ups, squats, then sprint 400m. Recover back to the base of the hill, and repeat the whole thing again with 4x hill repeats, 3x hill repeats, etc. This one ends up being a great workout and adds nice variety to the evening. In addition to the speed and interval workouts, we've gone through cadence drills, breathing drills, and running form drills in detail. The other great part of each night is that we add drills, leg workouts, and core workouts - all things I tend to neglect a bit if left to my own devices.

I know there are people out there who love speed workouts, but I can't say I've ever been one of them. I love my long, slower runs while enjoying the outdoors quite a bit more than I like running around the oval. That said, I know these workouts are good for me and I'm glad I joined the group to get my butt out there. I always feel awesome after the workout, and maybe someday I'll even become a speed work fan.

As I go through this year and work toward my sub-2 hour half marathon goal, I'll need to increase the distance of my speed workouts. The coach plans to focus more workouts on 800m repeats, and I'm hoping to request mile repeats too. I'm pretty sure I'll regret that request at some point in the near future.

So tell me, do you include track workouts in your training plans? What is your favorite or your most helpful speed workout for the half marathon? Should I include mile repeats? I want to know your secrets; I need all the help I can get on my 2013 half marathon goal time!

14 comments:

  1. I do them! I really like 800 and 1600m repeats. I'm less of a fan of tempo runs. Usually the workout you hate the most is the one you can stand to benefit the most from, or that's what I tell myself when I run tempos.

    I think increasing your top speed will just help you become more fit, so it doesn't matter much what speed workout you do as long as there is one that you do and find challenging. I think race pace runs are also helpful, but they don't serve the same purpose as a speed workout does.

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    1. Ok ok - I need to get on the 1600s. :) I'm sure you are right and I'll benefit!

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  2. Those shoes look sick - super sweet!

    I don't love speed workouts, but boy do they work. I did a bunch when i trained for my first 1/2 with a trainer, and knocked nearly 20 minutes off my time. I've been doing them for 5k training and am knocking 30 seconds to a minute off my time so far.

    They are painful, but they sure do pay off. stick with it!

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    1. 30s to 1 min on a 5K is HUGE! That's awesome!

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  3. I'm trying to start integrating speed work this year too. Probably better at getting it done when you have other people to meet up with! I'm looking fowrard to reading more in your comments about good workouts because I'm not always sure what to do!

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    1. So much easier when meeting people and then I get told what to do. On my own I end up running 400s. :)

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  4. Great track work! I am a huge fan of the track and most of time I even like being there. I credit most of my PRs in 2012 to the fact that I added track work to my weekly runs. It's always better if someone is with you too!

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    1. Yay good to know! I'm getting there...

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  5. I LOVE track work but that might be bc I ran track for 6 years. I also like that it's a different type of pain than a long run and like you, I always feel great after it's done. I think this will really help you achieve your goal!

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    1. It is definitely a different kind of pain!

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  6. Those are pretty shoes!
    Track workouts are fun with friends, and so hard alone!

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  7. I do the speed workouts, but I don't like them. At all. I complain after every 400. But I want to get faster and I have seen a big difference over the last 6 months or so.

    Those shoes are really great looking.

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  8. Glad you are enjoying the elixirs so far. their new colors just came out and they look good!

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What are you thinking? Let me know!