Saturday, March 12, 2016

Long run with speed play

Yesterday was supposed to be a rest day. I planned on resting, but I started to get antsy to go for a run, which is kind of odd--I LOVE my rest days! ;) Since I've been trying to listen to my intuition as far as my running schedule goes, I decided to go ahead and run. At first, I thought I'd just do three easy miles, but it was super nice outside (chilly but sunny, and no wind), and the thought of doing a long run was actually appealing.

I asked the kids if they wanted to go with me (they could ride their bikes while I ran), and Noah wanted to. So we headed to Huroc Park, to take the path into the Metroparks. The last time we did this, it turned out to be a disaster--I planned to run 10 miles, but I just totally crashed at around mile 5.5. That was one of the worst runs I've ever had! I thought it would be kind of fun to run the exact same route, and see how I feel compared to last time (last time, it was crazy hot and humid, so it wasn't exactly a good comparison).

There were a TON of people fishing at the park when we got there. It was nice and sunny outside, so I'm sure they were taking advantage of the good weather as well. I decided to try something new for my long run, which was a workout I got from the 80/20 Running book. It's called "Long run with speed play", and you do 10 x 0.75 miles easy and 0.25 miles hard (a 10-mile run, with the last quarter of each mile run at a hard pace). I've never tried adding speed to a long run before, so it sounded interesting.

I started running at the park, Noah alongside me, and I could have sworn I was running a 10:30 or so pace, but when I glanced at my Garmin, I saw that it was much slower (even with my heart rate in the low 140's). I didn't want to push myself at all during the easy parts, because I wanted to save my energy for the hard parts, so I didn't really pay any attention to my easy pace after that.

Once I hit the 0.75 mark, my Garmin beeped to start running hard. I assumed my hard interval would be slower than usual as well, but I glanced down halfway through and saw my pace was in the 6:00's, so I slowed it down. But I basically ran comfortably hard for the whole thing, and I was happy to see that my times for quarter-mile intervals are still improving.

I wasn't really sure what to expect out of this workout, because I'd never done it before; but surprisingly, it wasn't nearly as hard as I imagined. Three quarters of a mile is a lot of time to recover from a hard quarter, and I ran at a very easy pace to recover.

We did an out-and-back route, so I ran out five miles and then turned around. I'd brought the pickle juice with me today, and the second I started feeling my ab muscles tightening up at around mile 5.5, I drank 2 ounces of the pickle juice. It may have just been a coincidence, but it worked--I didn't get the spasm.

I was surprised at just how good I felt during the entire run. The only parts that felt tough were the first minute or two after each hard interval, but I felt really good otherwise. The miles went by quickly due to the intervals. I finished up the last interval in Huroc Park, and had just completed 10 miles! I was very happy with how it went. I hit a great pace on my hard intervals, and other than a quick stop to down the pickle juice, never had to stop or walk. Woot! MUCH different than the last 10-miler I did on that path.

The average pace of my hard sections was 7:25, which is probably my best pace for 400-meter intervals so far this training period--and they were in the midst of a long run. Not what I expected! I don't think I'd want to do every long run with speed play, but it was a fun change up from the norm, and I would do it again. There are a lot of great workout ideas in the 80/20 Running book, so I'm going to continue to try some out now and then.


  1. Wow, you were so consistent! Great job!

  2. Thumbs up for the pickle juice!!

  3. You look so great in that running photo!!! :)


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