Oh, hey. Look who’s finally diving back into speed training.
When I registered for the Walt Disney World Marathon last year, my goal was plain and simple: to finish. And that’s exactly what I did. My training plan was focused on building mileage – not speed – and on race day I crossed the finish line. It wasn’t pretty, but I did it. It was also my slowest marathon to date… by 30+ minutes.
My new goal is to focus on speed. Once upon a time I was fast. I mean, I wasn’t on my way to qualifying for Boston or anything… but I remember when holding a sub-9:00 min pace was my “normal.” I was in shape, I ran with friends regularly, and I worked my butt off for all of my PRs. Obviously, it’s all relative, but that seems like a lifetime ago now. I doubt I’ll be gunning for any PRs anytime soon, I just want to see if I can go (somewhat) fast again.
So here’s my game plan.
Do the work.
Sounds simple enough, but it’s surprisingly easy to make up an excuse and ditch my planned work out for the day. I have to constantly remind myself that I can’t just sit around dreaming of what used to be, then get mad at myself for not seeing any results. I need to get out there and do something about it. Right now I’m running 3-4 days a week. I’m dedicating one day to track work, one day to tempo, and one day to a long(ish) run. I’m filling in the rest of the week with yoga and strength workouts. Again, nothing fancy – I’m rediscovering my love for YouTube workout videos and have found some decent videos via Amazon Prime.
Leave excuses at the door.
For the longest time my biggest excuse was not having access to a track for speed work. I still don’t. I only have a limited time each morning to do my work outs and unfortunately I just can’t make it to a track in that time. No more excuses. If I can’t get to the track, I’m bringing the track to me. One loop around my block is approximately .3 miles. It’s not a perfect 400, but it’s close enough. It’s also right out my front door, so I don’t have to waste time driving anywhere or worry about unexpected track closures.
Run with friends.
The best way to get faster is to run with people who are faster than you. I miss running with friends. They push me like no other and I probably owe all of my great running achievements to them. They’re still on the top of their game, so I’ve been too nervous to ask them to go out on any runs recently. That’s just silly. I mean, they’ll obviously have to take pity on me for the first few times out, but a big goal of mine will be to meet them for some weekend runs again.
Reign in the indulgences.
I was developing a terrible habit of having a glass of wine or beer every night after work. Not only were the extra calories completely unnecessary, but I felt like crap every morning for my runs. I was only giving half the effort and it showed. I stopped buying the beer/wine at the store each week and, in turn, stopped reaching for it each night. I’ve also been cutting out sweets and stopped eating out as much. The results have been great. I don’t feel as gross when I got to bed each night and I wake up a much happier person.
So there you have it. It’s not a quick fix plan, but it’s a start. Once I’ve re-developed my pace, I’ll start re-focusing on some race goals. For now simply working on my speed is exactly where I want to be.