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Okay, so I am not understanding a lot of the runner's magazines' jargon...so I'll ask you all: how do I get a faster pace? Since I've begun running, I have run about a 10:45 pace...which is all fine and dandy, but I guess I'm getting to the point that I'd like to try to run, say, a 5 or 10K with a 10 minute pace, or someday even sub-10 minute...what do I do? And please explain any technical stuff, like 4x400 and all that jazz...like I said, I'm a little slow at this to start . Also, I know there are different theories, like some people believe sprinting is better, some think lifting helps, whatever you believe, I'm open to listen to, I just need HELP! I want to get faster! Thank you!
The basic thing that will help your speed is consistent training, running "x" miles per day (average), "y" days per week, for a total of "z" miles per week. "x", "y" and "z" will vary depending on your goals. This becomes your "base " mileage. Over time, you may add speedwork. There are several types of speedwork. Here is a basic explanation.
- Intervals: This is the "4x400", etc, said four by four hundred. That means doing four repeats of four hundred meters (1/4 mile) at a fast pace. Warmup for a mile or so. Do the first fast "repeat" of 400 meters, followed by a slow recovery "interval" (where the name comes from) of about the same time as the repeat. So if the repeat takes 2:15 (minutes:seconds), so should the recovery. Do this three more times for a total of four (thus 4x400). All of the repeats are preferably done in the same time or possibly getting slightly faster (a second or two) as you go along. Intervals are best done on a track, or on a precisely measured course, the flatter the better.
- Tempo Runs: Warm up for a mile or so. Do a specified distance (or time) at "tempo" pace (I'll get to that). Cool down for a mile or so. The tempo distance/time is usually a minimum of 2 miles or 20 minutes, and it goes up from there. To some extent it depends on what you're training for: shorter for short races, longer for long races. Tempo pace (also called "lactate threshold" pace) is a fast (race level fast) pace you can hold for about an hour. So a 10-mile race pace is frequently used (1/2 marathon pace for faster runners). The pace can be figured from other length races (5K or 10K for instance). The McMillan Running Calculator will figure paces for these workouts based on a recent race time: http://www.mcmillanrunning.com/mcmillanrunningcalculator.htm
- Fartlek: Also know as speedplay. This is "pickups" of varying distance during an otherwise regular training run. Warmup for the first mile. Pick up the pace to some arbitrary point down the road, a telephone pole, side street, sign, etc. Slow to your normal pace for a while, then do another pickup. The number and distance are up to you.
- Strides - Strides are short, quick accelerations usually done at the end of a regular training run. They are fast but not sprints, 50 to 100 strides/steps (counting both feet), typically repeated 4 to 10 times, with an equal slow recovery after each. Accelerate for 10-15 steps at the beginning, run the middle part at a quick pace, decelerate for 10 or 15 steps.
BTW, speedwork, hill repeats and long runs are generally considered "hard" workouts. Avoid doing hard workouts on consecutive days. Always take a rest/recovery/cross-training day in between.
Hill repeats are something like intervals, except you run up a hill (150 to 300 meters) for the hard part, then down easy for recovery, repeat.
>Avoid doing hard workouts on consecutive days. Always take a rest/recovery/cross-training day in between.
This is really important because your body doesn't get stronger during the hard workouts, it gets stronger when it has time to rebuild and repair muscle fibers after those workouts. Recovery runs and cross-training exercises are what allows you the time needed for this process to occur. Most runners will run one long run and one speed run (either intervals or tempo) per week and space them a few days apart. It's also a good idea to take an easy week each month where you only run about 75% of your normal mileage with no hard runs.
running rach wrote:
some think lifting helps
I don't lift weights, but I do believe that strength training is important. Core and upper body endurance are often neglected by runners and I utilize natural resistance exercises like push-ups and crunches to build these areas.
About once or twice a week go for a short run (say 2 to 3 miles) with a little speed thrown in, say the second half of your run pick up the pace for 30 seconds then jog for a minute then repeat 3 times, jog the last 5 minutes home. (Keep a pretty fast pace, but not sprinting though, when your doing your speed portions.)
I found that this alone took me from 10 minute mile pace to 8 minute mile pace in just about a month's time! This mixed with 4 mile runs every other day did the trick! Good luck and keep training!
Len, Jay, and all who have posted to this....how long feasibly should a person be "running" before they implement this into their workouts? I did my version of intervals on Tuesday and the next day my legs were toast. I even experienced shin splints for the first time. I did sprints for about 200 yards and then walked 200 and so on. Also, how long do you think it'd be before you would start seeing an improvement with your time. I understand that Len and Jay have been runners for some time.
Thanks for all the great info
I know I haven't been running all that long but after 3 weeks of doing my inervals I started seeing results! Remember, I only do them once or twice a week, and then take the next day off cause, like you said, your legs are toast! The next day after the day off I take it real easy and go for a "very slow" 4 mile jog. Slow enough to be able to hold a conversation with a running buddy and not be out of breath. The day after this comfortable jog my aches are almost gone! Then it's back to usual training!
teri dacto wrote:
>how long feasibly should a person be "running" before they implement this into their workouts?
Hmmm... I don't know of any "rules" for when to start speedwork. My recommendation would be to simply work on your base for the initial 2-3 months of running. Speedwork should really be the last aspect which is integrated into your training. And don't forget to put in at least two easy days after a speed session before you attempt another hard workout.
You should have several months of "base" mileage in before adding serious speedwork. Base mileage is the miles you will run regularly, every week, and it will vary from person to person, depending on their goals. Say your goal is to run a 5K, and you think you can do well on 25 miles per week. That's your base mileage. You want to be running 25 miles per week, and be comfortable doing those miles, for two or three months at least before adding speedwork. You don't want the added stress of speedwork until your base mileage is no longer stressful. Then you can convert one of your regular weekday workouts to a speed workout. Like any other change, introduce it gradually. For intervals, say, start with 3 or 4 repeats of 200 or 400 meters. Don't start with 10x200 or 8x400 or 6x1200, that's too much for a first session. Start with just a few and add one (long repeats) or maybe two (short repeats only) each time you do the workout. Don't do it more than once a week, particularly to start. The other thing that's important is speed. How fast should you be doing these repeats? Or a tempo run? If you have a recent race time you can go to the McMillan Running Calculator to find out. If you don't, time a hard 3 or 4 miles on one of your training runs. You can enter that time in the calculator to get your speeds for the various distances. Read the results carefully. At the top are predicted race times at various distances. A little further down are times to use for different types of workouts at different distances. http://www.mcmillanrunning.com/mcmillanrunningcalculator.htm
What may have happened on your first track workout was too much, too fast. You don't mention how many repeats you did, or at what speed. Both of those matter, a lot. The other thing is that an interval workout, or a tempo run, or a long run, will leave you a little more tired the next day. (If your legs are toast, you overdid it.) That's what recovery runs and cross-training are for. My advice is to do some kind of "active recovery" the next day, either an easy run or cross-training, rather than taking a rest day.
Jay may have more to add.
Thank you to ALL for the advice and information...I have a little update...I just ran a race today, a 4 mile, and this 10-minute mile-running gal ran it in 36:30! Mile 3 was even an 8 minute mile! I was so excited when I crossed the finish line, I couldn't believe it...I even set my own stopwatch on my watch to see if that was right since I started at the back of the clump of runners...so I CAN run fast, I just can't do it all the time...I also had rested the two days before, and I hadn't run a race in over a year, so I was really excited, adrenaline, etc. So I guess I don't know what my problem is, why I'm so slow...I do know that I ran with someone faster than me (I'd never run with her before so I didn't know how fast she was) but she even said she runs like 10 min-miles too...I guess I'm just confused, and wondering, should I expect this for races, to be a LOT faster than what I run daily??? Or should I be pushing myself more during training?
Congratulations! It's amazing what a little adrenaline can do in a race situation. And yes, generally you will race at a faster pace than you train. You would wear out pretty quickly if you did every training run at race pace (that's called over-training).
And yes, generally you will race at a faster pace than you train. You would wear out pretty quickly if you did every training run at race pace
Yup. About the only time I reach race pace is during interval repeats. Even during the speed sections of my tempo runs (and I push pretty hard), I'm not hitting my half-marathon (or shorter distance race) pace. Running at that intensity on a daily basis is simply too much for the body to handle.