The Necessity of Speed Work


Category : , ,

This week I have a started a new training program focused on speed work. Making this changes now does mean that I have only completed 60 days of the P90X challenge, however it also means that I can get in 16 weeks of work before I start my mileage build up for the St. Jude's Marathon in December.
The main reason for the switch is quite simple: I want to run faster! I basic common sense, if you want to run faster, then you must run faster.  While more running will improve your conditioning and allow you to run longer and harder, focused training on speed work can provide better results.
As I did with the marathon training last year, I've started with a plan from Hal Higdon. My plan is modeled after the Intermediate Spring Training Plan.  The changes I am making include increasing the plan from 12 weeks to 16. First, let me explain the core components of the schedule and then I tell you how and why I am making the changes.
Core Components of Hal Higdon's Speed Work:
1. During weeks 1-6 the focus is on hill work.  Running hills can be draining. It will drain in during your race, so running them in training is a necessity.
2. During weeks 7-12 the focus switches to repeats of 200 meters and 400 meters on a track.
3. Two days a week you run 3 miles and then focus on strength training (here is where I can add in some moves for P90X).
4. Two days with easy runs, one about 25% longer than the other. This simply helps you get more miles in without wearing yourself out.
5. One day each week alternates from week to week with tempo runs and fartleks.
6. A day of rest. You need it if you run hard.

The Changes
Really the only change that I am making is increasing the number of weeks from 12 to 16. One reason why is I want to focus more time on the hill work.  My next scheduled race is the Soaring Wings Half Marathon which has a lot of hills on it, a couple of which really took it out of me last year.  The additional weeks will also give me the opportunity to use two different hills.  In explaining the hill work Higdon says, "Select a hill about a quarter-mile long, but don't worry about pitch or the exact distance." I have several hills near my house, one which is a steady increase, but rather low pitch and another that I call a "soul sucker", because you are exhausted by the time you get to the top of it. They are both about the same distance, but the pitch (elevation change) is dramatically different.  My thinking is, I'll encounter both types of hills on the course, so try for what I'll race.  The additional weeks will allow me to run one hill one week, and then another hill the next.  The extra weeks on the hills will also give me more opportunities to compare my running stats from week to week.
As far as the strength training goes, I'll be working on a plan tonight to figure out what exercises I'll be doing to help me maintain the work I have already done as well as help me improve my speed.

How have you used speed work in training?
Do you feel like focused speed work has helped or do you prefer to simply log more miles?

[image by netdogg1103]


Post a Comment

Related Posts with Thumbnails