Category Archives: speedwork

Return to speedwork

Start time: 4/7/11, 6:00am
Location: National Mall
Distance: 4 miles
Average pace: n/a
Total Miles For April: 18 miles
Total Miles For 2011: 189 miles

Met up with Steve and Ben this morning, who are starting to add in some speedwork to their weekly schedule. It was only a tiny amount today—three quarter-mile sprints with recovery—and of course some warm up and cooldown. Over time they’ll be increasing the amount, of course. Amazing how when you haven’t done it for ages, though, even a tiny bit can kick your butt.

End-of-Year Catching Up

Oops! Whole bunch of updates here.

Start Time: 12/13/07, 6:30pm
Location: Thomas Jefferson Community Center
Distance: 6 miles
Average Pace: 8:49min/mile

Start Time: 12/15/07, 8:00am
Location: Washington-Lee High School
Distance: 1 mile & 4x200m & 3x400m

Start Time: 12/17/07, 6:30pm
Location: Thomas Jefferson Community Center
Distance: 2 miles & 8x200m

Start Time: 12/22/07, 3:45pm
Location: W&OD Trail
Distance: 8 miles
Average Pace: 9:16min/mile

Start Time: 12/24/07, 9:30am
Location: Washington-Lee High School
Distance: 2 miles & 8x200m

Start Time: 12/25/07, 4:00pm
Location: Vienna, VA
Distance: 5.8 miles
Average Pace: 9:12min/mile

Continue reading End-of-Year Catching Up


Start time: 12/10/07, 6:30pm
Location: Thomas Jefferson Community Center
Distance: 2 miles & 8x200m
Average pace: 43sec

I was originally going to run these Monday morning, but it got postponed to the evening due to some stomach issues the night before. Once again, lap #5 was the slowest, although I was able to at least pick it up a bit at the end. (45.42, 45.64, 43.07, 42.04, 44.17, 42.69, 42.58, 42.06) The one nice thing was when I was done with my last repeat and preparing for my cool-down mile, a woman I see often at my spinning class said to me, “Speed work?” Which for some reason was encouraging and perfectly timed, because I was feeling like I was running slow—it’s nice to know that at least someone else at the gym knew exactly what I was attempting to do.

2, 4, 6, 8 (hundred)

Start time: 12/2/07, 8:30am
Location: Sidwell Friends School
Distance: 1 mile & 6x100m

Start time: 12/4/07, 6:30pm
Location: Thomas Jefferson Community Center
Distance: 2 miles & 6x200m
Average pace: 43sec

Start time: 12/6/07, 3:00pm
Location: Thomas Jefferson Community Center
Distance: 5 miles
Average pace: 8:34min/mile

Start time: 12/8/07, 8:30am
Location: Washington-Lee High School
Distance: 1 mile & 200/400/600/800m

Oops… haven’t put the last couple of these in here. I’ve been starting a new speed training (“explosive running”) program for the winter, and I’m not entirely sure how to categorize a lot of these. But it’s been fun. Our first session we ran a warm-up mile, then did some running exercises involving “butt-kicks”, “high knees”, and “form runs”. Then we did six 100-meter runs, with the idea that each one got progressively faster. It was really enjoyable, but hard; I could feel it in my quads the next day!

Next up that Tuesday was six 200 meter fast runs, once again, trying to get each one a little faster. My fifth one slowed down a bit but I did recover in the end. I must say, though, having a 200 meter track to run it on is a little less than enjoyable. All those curves! (45.38, 44.57, 43.47, 42.00, 44.00, 42.06)

Thursday was a slower, enjoyable 5-mile run. It snowed out so it was back to the indoor track for me… but after all those speed drills, just having a breather was good.

On Saturday after some warm-ups and running exercises, we ran 200m, then 400m, then 600m, then 800m. The idea was to do them at a faster pace but to also maintain that pace through all four of them. Mine slipped a tiny bit for the third and fourth, but not too drastically so. (0:50, 1:41, 2:38, 3:33.) For the 800m we were supposed to try and speed up for the second half and I did accomplish that, so that was good. It’s been a very different running experience, but I’m actually looking forward to more torture drills ahead!

Need for Speed: Season 2

Start time: 11/20/05, 9:00am
Location: American University
Distance: 3 miles
Average pace: 8:30min/mile

Ah speedwork, how I have missed you!

It was a really small group of us; me, Rick, Cal, and Pam. Now that we’re post-marathon, I decided it was as good a time as any to push my speed training pace up. My original thought was to try out a 9:00min/mile pace (my old speedwork was at a 9:30min/mile), but after I did the first lap I was waaaay off. The other laps of the first mile were at an 8:45min/mile pace, so I figured that was as good a speed as any. Of course, trying to hit that is something entirely different; that pesky first lap keeps coming in a little bit fast and throwing it all off. 🙂 I may just stick with actually trying to an 8:30min/mile pace for speedwork since that’s really not that much faster for the remaining laps. (2:07 per lap.)

More importantly, afterwards involved eggs and canadian bacon at City Diner. Mmmmmm, so tasty.

Mile 1 (8:25): 1:56, 2:10, 2:11, 2:08
Mile 2 (8:39): 2:04, 2:13, 2:09, 2:11
Mile 3 (8:26): 1:59, 2:09, 2:09, 2:07

Need for Speed, part 7

Start time: 10/16/05, 8:00am
Location: American University
Distance: 4 miles
Average pace: 9:30min/mile

Ah, the final speed training pre-marathon… it went surprisingly quickly, being just 4 miles this time. No crazy final miles this time through, since we’re getting close to the marathon. (Although the last mile was accidentally a 9:05. Excited, much?) Fall has finally arrived and everything was cold in the shadows (which was half of the track) so there was a bit of shivering going on, but breakfast afterwards took care of that. More importantly, post-marathon some of us will keep doing speedwork and I like that idea very much.

Need for Speed, part 6

Start time: 10/09/05, 8:00am
Location: American University
Distance: 6 miles
Average pace: 9:30min/mile

Today was the first of our two final speedwork sessions, where we’re doing less and less milage. For me and Mark (and anyone else who’d done twelve, like grok) that meant 6 miles. (Julie banged up her foot on an ottoman and wisely is resting it; fortunately the bruising is already gone.) For the first four miles, Mark and I (along with speedwork running pal Jeff) were hitting our pace almost exactly. Jeff finished up at that point, and Mark and I finished our fifth mile a little fast.

“Are you going to try and bust out a full eight-minute mile for the final mile this time,” Mark asked. “I’m game if you’re game,” I replied.

Well, we took the first eighth and the last eighth a little off-pace, so we didn’t hit 8:00… instead it was… um… 7:27.

Bad Greg. Bad Mark. And no, we weren’t gasping for breath afterwards. This speed training stuff really works!

(“The 9:30min/mile pace group is my bitch next year,” I was heard to remark when we were done. Three miles at under an 8:30min/mile (without breathing hard) is not the daunting prospect it once was.)

(Mile times: 9:33, 9:33, 9:28, 9:31, 9:08, 7:27)

Need for Speed, part 5

Start time: 09/25/05, 7:00am
Location: American University
Distance: 12 miles
Average pace: 9:30min/mile

Last Sunday was the final mileage jump for my speedwork sessions, up to 12 miles. It went really well; I ran the first eight miles with Mark and Jeff, and the last four with just Mark since Jeff was done for the day. There were lots of attractive people in the forms of the AU Women’s Soccer Team and their Coaches, so as I said that day there was something for everyone. (There was also a stupid little kid riding around the track on his bicycle, but thankfully grok and Rick put an end to that quickly.)

The best part of the day for me, though, was the final mile. Four laps around the track is one mile, so since I was running 9:30min/miles that meant each lap needed to be around 2:22. Rick had already said that the final mile is “the fun one”, and right as Mark and I were finishing up the first lap he called out, “If you’re smiling that much Greg, you clearly aren’t working hard enough.” I promptly thought to myself, Hmmmm… I wonder? and then sped up. I finished the second lap at 2:01… the third at 2:03… and the fourth at 2:00. Being able to shift up to an 8:00min/mile for the last three quarters of the mile felt fantastic, and a nice finishing time for the mile at 8:23.

My next year goals will get hashed out in a month or so (I still need to go through my goals from this year like tahiggins wisely suggested) but right now I’m thinking that landing in the 9:30min/mile training group next year should very much be in reach. Yay!

Our final two speedwork sessions will be in a couple of weeks; the next one will be half our previous longest distance at speedwork (so 6 miles) and then the final one will be 2-3 miles for everyone. Can’t wait!

(Mile times: 9:45, 9:33, 9:20, 9:27, 9:41, 9:31, 9:23, 9:25, 9:25, 9:24, 9:31, 8:23)

Need for Speed, part 4

Start time: 08/28/05, 7:00am
Location: American University
Distance: 10 miles
Average pace: 9:30min/mile

Vroom! Another Sunday of speedwork, and more enjoyment ensuing. It was another small group, but it went well; Mark, Tod, and I all knocked out 10 miles, and Julie smashed her scheduled 8 miles into the dust. This was definitely the first one where I was struggling a bit towards the end, but not in an “I can’t go on” sort of way, more of a, “This really sucks, I am running out of energy, must push forward” feeling.

It helped that I knew I was stopping at ten miles, so when things started to feel like they were shifting into reverse during that last mile, I just started counting the laps of the track. “Only three and a half more to go… only three more to go… only two and seven-eighths to go…” Ok, I didn’t really get that specific, it was really just whole laps that I counted. Although on the last lap, Mark was practically breaking it down that much. I think he was just as happy to end as I was.

This was followed by a fantastic lunch at Guapo’s in Tenleytown, and then I bought my new running shoes (finally!) that I’ll break in this week, hopefully Tuesday morning and Thursday afternoon. I’ve definitely put that off long enough.

Music in my head this time: Queen – Don’t Stop Me Now, Kylie Minogue – Can’t Get You Out Of My Head, Faith No More – Easy, something else that I’ve thankfully blocked out already
Mile times: 9:34, 9:24, 9:30, 9:30, 9:28, 9:28, 9:25, 9:24, 9:32, 9:18

Need for Speed, part 3

Start time: 08/14/05, 7:00am
Location: American University
Distance: 8 miles
Average pace: 9:30min/mile

Yay! More speedwork! This time was at our new location—the track at American University, my old roommate Marc’s law school alma mater. This was my first time actually getting to run speedwork on the track and I’ve got to say that for consistency’s sake you can’t beat it one bit.

I was supposed to be knocking out 9:30min/miles, and let’s put it this way: I don’t need to do the fancy little chart from last week because I was so on the money. I was hitting my times down to the quarter mile for the first five miles perfectly, and for the last three I actually came in a little fast thanks to running the initial eighth-mile about five seconds fast. (On the final one I also finished fast but I think it was due to excitement of being done.) But yeah, really consistent times for me: 9:33, 9:26, 9:31, 9:30, 9:31, 9:20, 9:21, 9:16.

Big props also go to those kind enough to wait; while I wasn’t the slowest person there, I was the slowest one that actually ran 8 miles so for the final mile it was just me on the track feeling a tiny bit silly. Maybe that also had something to do with deciding that I was drenched after five miles and ditching the shirt. (That breeze sure felt nice, though.) And having to dodge the randomly-activating sprinklers which weren’t positioned quite right, unless they really are supposed to wet the track a bit as well…

I’m really loving the speedwork program; I can’t believe I never did this before.