Speed Work and Training Plans

Starting over from scratch in running has been very interesting. I’ve spent the past almost 6 months (WOW!) building a base in my running. I’m now up to 20-25 miles a week and I can finally change up some of those workouts from just running to a more focused running workout.

I mentioned in the past few workouts that I have been approved to start tempo runs (and now hill repeats). I wasn’t really sure where to begin or what to do, so I used the trusty McMillian calculator to figure out what pace I should attempt to hit in my runs.

I put in my time from the Rehoboth Beach 1/2 marathon in December and put what I wanted to see happen in New Orleans two months later. While my PR pre surgery is1:43:47, I know that it will take several more months and hard work to get even close to that point. So each goal for now is to slowly chip away time at each race (I have no expectation to PR the 1/2 this year).IMG_5370Screen shot 2014-01-01 at 8.29.52 PM

McMillian suggested these paces based on my current time and goals. Screen shot 2014-01-01 at 8.29.37 PM

Piedmont Park-the regular running route.

I’ve actually found that my easy runs and long runs are on the lower end of the range…and the same has been for my tempo runs the past few weeks.

I’ve only had a chance to do three and they have all been 6 mile runs. 1 mile warm up and cool down with 4 miles at tempo.

January 8th: 8:49, 8:13, 8:08, 8:07, 8:16, 9:00

January 15th: 8:54, 7:59, 8:06, 7:52,7:55,8:41

January 22nd: 8:49, 8:01, 7:58, 7:52, 7:47, 8:32

What I love? None of them have felt that hard when I am done. Just felt like I worked, not all out. If you notice above at my goal, you get a sneak peek at what I hope for New Orleans this weekend. I definitely think a 1:49 is doable (super flat course). After each race this Spring, I will do this same evaluation and put another small goal in place.

After NOLA, I will add hill repeats and slowly add a bit more mileage to each week. I also plan on adding new strength training workouts (trying a few barre-type classes).

I am hoping that I am not pushing too much and that this plan works. I haven’t really put a training schedule in place and not really sure how to go about it (it’s been SO LONG)…but I think I will look over a couple that I have from books and magazines and come up with my own and what will work for me. I just don’t know when to do step-back weeks, what’s realistic mileage, etc.

I plan on talking with Coach Jesss to see her expectations for where I need to be in July when my marathon training starts. That should help give me a few guidelines.

I would love your feedback though.

Is it realistic to expect to slowly take time off each race or is that doing too much? Do you follow a specific plan or make up your own? Do you do any type of speed work or skip it? Do you think the McMillian calculator is accurate? 

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  • Good luck in NOLA this weekend! I think you’ve definitely got a 1:49 in you. You’re killing your tempo runs already and I can’t wait to see how the rest of the Spring goes for you!!

  • Good luck at NoLA!! I can’t imagine running that fast, but you are right, flat course.

    Happy to see you are feeling good!

  • i think even just your shear determination will get you that sub 1:50.

    I fly by the seat of my pants with my training runs… I mean I do look at my watch for each run and during each mile I aim for some goal time, but I never pre-calculate going into a run what i want to do (unless its on treadmill)
    This is something I know I need to work on, so eventually I’ll be more anal about it.

  • I think you are doing a good job in slowly adding intensity and mileage. Usually cut back week should be every 3 weeks, but depends on your racing schedule. Always the week before and after a race should be easy as well. Good luck this weekend!! I hope the weather will be ok, heard they are expecting snow in New Orleans – crazy!

  • If you’re racing every other weekend or doing a half every 6 weeks, then I think you’re sick and foolish to try to PR every race. Racing on a 12-week cycle for a half…no, not crazy to try to pick off a little time each race. It also depends on how healthy the training cycle has been. You do get to a point where you will hit a plateau and the work to get off it will be pretty huge and might not be workable given the circumstances of life 🙂

    Go get ’em!

  • So envious of NOLA! I need to do that race! McMillan has never let me down. He has more confidence in me than I do. Until now, I’ve always been a RLRF girl, so all quality workouts, lots of speed. I like what Milfy said above: if your races arent too frequent, its reasonable to expect to improve gradually to a point. For myself, I don’t hesitate to push a workout back if I’m not feeling recovered. But us hags are slower to recover. Excited for you!

  • You are so freaking fast all the time. Best of luck to you at NOLA and sooo excited to see how you do 🙂 The amount of work you put in during your injury period has been so inspiring to me!! xoxo!

  • So proud of you on how much you have built back and your tempo runs. When considering speed and tempo pacing, I SWEAR by the pacing suggestions in the book Run Less Run Faster. They are based on your current 5K time, not a desired time that you are not actually in shape to run. Your paces increase as your 5K time increases. I absolutely love it and these paces are what got me to my big half marathon PR this month. Check it out. I’m happy to bring my book over next time I see you too.

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