So, this is week 13, and luckily not an unlucky one 😉
This week was a week to take it down a notch following our 10 miles run from the week before. We only ran 6 miles that weekend, but did some nice interval training. I do enjoy the intervals a lot as it spices up the training. It’s pretty fascinating to run fast – even though it’s depressing at the same time as an elite runner can keep that speed not just for one minute, but for 26.2 miles! Well, they get paid for it, right 😉 Anyway, for our intervals we usually do a 3 minute warm-up, and then 5 repeats of keeping up a fast pace for one minute. There is a 2-minute break to recover between each repeat which is absolutely sufficient. A the “fast speed” you’re not supposed to sprint, but you should not be able to keep up a conversation, nor speak in full sentences. Right now, we’re able to keep a pace of around 6:15 – 6:30 min/mile. That way we can do our repeats without being near unconsciousness which is good. Before starting this training I didn’t believe this interval thing will work. It didn’t make much sense to me why running really fast for a minute should help me keep up a faster pace for my long distance running. But as I learned from a quick online research, it does make sense. Why? Because by doing interval training you’re training your muscles to switch more easily/more quickly between aerobic and anaerobic energy systems. Put in simple words: On a flat course your muscles are in aerobic state and you’re feeling fine, but once you hit a hill (or a LONG distance such as a marathon) you need to breath harder and your heart rate increases (the work interval of your interval session). That’s when your muscles need to switch to the anaerobic system to squeeze out the last bit of energy that’s left. If you’ve done your interval workouts, you’ll be able to keep up your pace at the end of the hill or race, and will recover more quickly, meaning your muscles will switch back to the aerobic system. If you didn’t do your interval workouts, your muscles won’t be able to make that switch. Makes sense, right? And I must say, the results have been amazing so far! I’m so glad I’m incorporating this nice workout into my training.
Another nice workout I’ve adapted from the training program from No Meat Athlete are the tempo runs. These are pretty fun too! We do a 3 minute warm-up (the same as for the interval workout) at an easy pace, and then significantly increase the pace, but it’s neither sprinting nor interval pace. You still should be able to speak in full sentences, but should not be able to keep up a conversation. Matt Frazier defines the pace to be 30 seconds slower than your 5K pace. Well, since I don’t know my current 5K pace, I just go with the “still able to speak in full sentences”-definition, and sometimes a bit faster than that. So, for this week’s workout I was able to keep up a pace of around 09:30 to 10:00min/mile for the full 3 miles (this does not include the 3 minute warm-up) which is pretty cool for my standards. I started off with a 11min/mile pace, so I’m pretty proud of how my pace increased just by incorporating this routine. Tempo runs finish with a 3 minute cool-down. We usually run a 4 miles route, so we end up with a longer cool-down time which never hurts. Oh, I should note that we alternate the tempo run with hill training, meaning one week we do a tempo run, the next week hill training, then again a tempo run. As I hear from experienced runners, you’re not supposed to do such kinds of workouts more than once a week as it’s pretty hard on your body. The long-distances on the weekends are supposed to be recovery runs, which I had not realized before getting into long-distance running.
See you next week 🙂