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Breaking from the routine

by Meghann on October 4, 2012

Good Morning!

Don’t worry – Friday is almost here. 😉

I kicked things into gear this morning with a 6 mile run around the block. It was just a normal run – no speed kicks or funny business – but it was a tiny victory in the distance category. Lately I’ve fallen into a lazy routine with my running by only trading off between 4 and 5 milers during the week (with one additional long run over the weekend). I’m trying to break that routine by upping my weekday miles just a tad then eventually adding in some speed work.

I’ve really, really fallen behind in the speed work department. Back in May I ran my fastest marathon to date, finishing 26.2 miles in 3:56:56 (or roughly a 9:04 min/mi pace) by working my tail off. After that race I sort of fell off the speed wagon. I could blame a bunch of things – and, trust me, I have – but what it all boils down to is a lack of commitment and determination to stick with it. Even a half ironman looming in the not-so-distant future couldn’t pull me out of this slump.

Hopefully with the cooler weather making its way to town, I’ll eventually get my motivation back (this happens every year! – summer blows down here for running). Team XP has been amazing with motivating me to swim every week (seriously, without them I’m not sure where my swimming would be!) and the plan is to pick up track speedwork practices with team XP starting Tuesdays this November.

Speedwork isn’t just about becoming a faster runner, it’s also about becoming stronger and better overall. It shocks your body out of its normal routine and reminds your muscles to work in ways they forgot they could. Are you a runner who’s trying to get in better shape? Instead of adding distance, try adding speedwork to your normal routine. Push yourself out of your comfort zone – that’s when you tend to get the results you’re looking for.

I need to start mixing it up and I think I’m ready for it. 🙂



Two toasted leftover pumpkin waffles with almond butter, strawberry preserves, raisins, and flaxseed.


I have some plans brewing in my head. Stay tuned!

1 Natalie @ Free Range Human October 4, 2012 at 10:32 am

Sounds very interesting! Can’t wait!
Natalie @ Free Range Human recently posted..WIAW or My Ode to Whole Foods

2 Lauren S October 4, 2012 at 10:34 am

What kind of speedwork do you do? Are the HIIT (high intensity interval training) considered speedwork?

3 Meghann October 4, 2012 at 3:40 pm

I think it depends on the HIIT. Here’s’s definition: Speedwork is any running workout in which you run faster than your normal pace for a certain time or distance, or intervals. In between those fast intervals, you typically recover at a slower-than-normal pace. I usually stick to track workouts that involve intervals and repeats or tempo runs.

4 Courtney @ Journey of a Dreamer October 4, 2012 at 10:49 am

I totally hear you. After training for something like a marathon or a half it can become easy to just do a few easy miles here and there – I’m guilty. 5k is my longest distance this summer. Oops. Gotta get on that – I’m determined to PR my half marathon in the spring!
Courtney @ Journey of a Dreamer recently posted..2012 Warrior Dash Missouri Recap

5 Army Amy* October 4, 2012 at 10:49 am

I took over an hour off my finish time from my first marathon to my second with zero speed work. In all fairness, I had a LOT of room for improvement. I was recently listening to a podcast about using heart rate based workouts to improve your performance. I always thought that sounded really intimidating and technical, but this guy broke it down pretty plainly. I’m going to look into that more before my next full.*
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6 Annette @FitnessPerks October 4, 2012 at 10:53 am

After my Half IM, I’ve gotten back into speedwork. I love it!
Annette @FitnessPerks recently posted..Whatever Is, Is Right

7 NYC Fit Girl October 4, 2012 at 10:56 am

I am not very good at speed work but thankfully crossfit covers that by making me go on 800 meter runs! It’s funny since joining crossfit I am running less but defiantly faster!
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8 Meghann October 4, 2012 at 3:42 pm

I’ve had a LOT of people tell me that joining CrossFit made them a faster runner. I think it also helps that you’re building muscles that are making you stronger overall.

9 Katie @ Peace Love and Oats October 4, 2012 at 10:57 am

I’m definitely planning to add in speed work after the marathon this weekend. I didn’t focus much on it during training because my main goal for my first marathon is to finish!
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10 Sam @ Better With Sprinkles October 4, 2012 at 11:02 am

I’m definitely favouring speedwork and intervals over long, steady state runs. They don’t take as long to do (necessary for a student) and seem to go by faster!
Sam @ Better With Sprinkles recently posted..Goal Talk–October.

11 Lisa Fine October 4, 2012 at 11:06 am

Last spring I tried doing fartleks for the first time, and really enjoyed them. I don’t go for very long on each one, but I find it much more fun to head quickly towards a tree or a mailbox or something than to just run on the track. I also always think about doing strength training to get stronger and faster, but never make it a habit.

I’m curious about these ideas you have! Do tell, do tell.

12 Jen October 4, 2012 at 11:09 am

For someone who has never done speedwork before, are there any resources you’d recommend to learn how to start?

13 Meghann October 4, 2012 at 3:45 pm

Runner’s World!,7123,s6-238-263-265-0,00.html That’s where I first started and have sort of picked up tips and tricks from various other sources along the way.

14 Jen October 4, 2012 at 4:42 pm

Thank you!

15 Cher @ Weddicted October 4, 2012 at 12:43 pm

I also had waffles with ab and strawberry jam for breakfast.

Can’t wait to hear the plans!
Cher @ Weddicted recently posted..Unique boutonnieres for the Groom

16 Meghan @ After the Ivy League October 4, 2012 at 12:51 pm

I’ve been struggling a bit motivating myself to hit the treadmill for some speed work too. The treadmill has just been the dreadmill lately and I can’t even force myself to get on it. I’d much rather run outside, and when I do, I generally just run fast when I want to, slow down awhile, run fast again maybe….I don’t overthink it. Plus I don’t own a Garmin! The treadmill is the only place I can work on the numbers…but I’m still hating it these days :-/
Meghan @ After the Ivy League recently posted..My Food Story Part III: Where I am Today

17 Jennifer L October 4, 2012 at 1:06 pm

I started to notice that after I incorporated some circuit training my running has improved tremendously. It’s high intensity and leaves me a bucket of sweat after, but it keeps me from getting bored and an unexpected result was improved runs. I could probably benefit from real speed work, but I’m pretty happy with circuit training. Just thought I’d mention it 🙂
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18 mary @ minutes per mile October 4, 2012 at 1:56 pm

speed work. it feels pointless when you’re training, but on race day, you’re like THANK GOODNESS. keep pushing! and good luck!
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19 Em October 4, 2012 at 5:23 pm

I love speed work!! I did boot camp this summer and did an hour of sprinting 2x a week. It was awesome, and I got a lot faster (for me – I’m a slow runner). I’ve kind of slacked lately. Thanks for the reminder to add speed work back into my routine!

20 Chelsie @ Balance, Not Scale October 4, 2012 at 6:25 pm

After my half-marathon two weekends ago, I started training with a team. Last night was my first night doing speed work — holy heck does it ever bring a new intensity to a workout!! I definitely thought I was going to throw up at one point and was jogging at barely more than a walk during cool-down because I couldn’t make my legs move any faster. But was it ever rewarding!! I still can’t believe I ran those pieces as fast as I did. I’m really looking forward to improving and seeing what it does to my longer distance race times. 🙂
Chelsie @ Balance, Not Scale recently posted..Yes, I Will Trade Sleep for Shoes

21 Karen @ Runner Girl Eats October 4, 2012 at 8:36 pm

I was definitely lacking motivation after the summer so I joined a running group. It has helped a lot! But I am still guilty of getting stuck in a routine (same pace, same location). Today I forced myself to do some hills to switch it up. It felt so good to do something different.
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