Workout of the Week #2


Workout of the Week #2 “Death By Speed Work”

I know, you only run for fun and relaxation, not to induce pain. Speed Work for most of us could be equated with torture like waterboarding, electric shock, or dinner with the In-laws (I being the exception have great In-laws). So we hit the road and get our miles.  We run some tempo runs, some long slow distance and even throw in a few trail runs but we plateau and we never improve.  In comes the feared enemy, most of us love to avoid, known as speed work.

So before you click past this blog and erase it from your brain. Let me tell you what it is, and what its not. There are different schools of though on this topic but for me,

What it’s not:

Aerobic work (marathon pace)

Anaerobic runs (moderate effort near your lactic acid threshold)

Required that you run on a track

Something you do everyday or injured

The harder the work out the better the result

Required that you are fast

What it is:

VO2 Max work – for most runners 3k (2 mile) pace

Required that you do extra warm-up

Produces more myoglobin which means more oxygen to muscles

Store more glycogen for more muscle energy

Fartleks, hill repeats, strides or track work

Form work that anyone can do to help you run faster and smoother

Required you take an easy day the day after

The Workout

I went to one of the gurus of running, Jeff Galloway

2 Miles progressive warm up

6 x 110s – walk 10 steps, jog 10 steps, run the rest . Some call these gliders and others call them accelerations.

Mobility exercises and stretches after the warm up (Jeff also outlines some warm up tips in his article linked above) and between the 6 intervals

4 x 400 at 8 seconds faster than 5k pace (1:28 for me with goal of 19:59 5K)

Walk or jog ½ lap in between for rest

I ran this at the local middle school 1/16 at 5:20 PM, just before sunset. The weather was perfect at about 55 degrees The darkness added some mystery, as I could not see my watch at the 200 mark.


5 miles 45:11
400 #1 1:30 2:08 walk / jog rest
400 #2 1:24 2:37 walk / jog rest
400 #3 1:26 2:23 walk / jog rest
400 #4 1:19 Cool down


Workout Evaluation

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The additional warm-up helped get me ready to run faster than normal and this being a familiar work out for me was a benefit. The only thing that might make this a perfect workout would be diversified distances and a partner to run them with.

Personal Evaluation

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After the 1st 400: I had a twinge in my left hip, I ran my guts out and still missed my goal, I was questioning my general sanity.  However I brought my daughter on her bike for extra accountability and motivation, so I took my assigned rest, and stepped to the line for the 2nd. I just wanted to be smooth with good form and when I hit the 2nd I knew I could get ‘er done.

Yes there was some pain and the “fear” lingered into my 2nd spilt.  But the moral of the story is I went out there fought it and did not die.