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1766 Views 2 Replies Latest reply: Jan 7, 2014 7:19 AM by ColoCorredor
Idget16 Rookie 1 posts since
Apr 7, 2010
Currently Being Moderated

Apr 7, 2010 6:19 PM

Newbie increasing speed question

Hi everyone! I am a 28 year old female who lived a pretty inactive life. I haven't done any serious working out since college BUT I have a PT test for a job in 5 weeks. I have been working hard but I am stuck. I currently am jogging an agonizingly slow 11 minute mile (1.5 mile run). I need to have, at the very most, a 9 minute mile. Is it possible to get there in 5 weeks? Any suggestions for a way to increase my pace? I also have to do a 300m sprint, and I am TOTALLY out of my element for this. Any suggestions? I feel like an old lady- my knees are feeling their age despite being fitted for new sneaks (which have helped the ankles a LOT!).


I guess my specific questions are:

- what are the minimum days off I can take? I currently take one or two a week. Is this okay?

- if I am training for a 1.5 mile run and a 300 m sprint, should I be running longer then this? I don't want to waste my workout time since I only have 5 weeks to go and my knees are causing me problems.

- General speed workout suggestions are welcome!

Thanks so much

  • Marykb Legend 1,347 posts since
    Jan 16, 2008
    Currently Being Moderated
    1. Apr 8, 2010 12:03 PM (in response to Idget16)
    Re: Newbie increasing speed question

    Do you only have to run a 9:00 mile for 1.5 miles?


    I can relate to this because I run in this range.  I average 10:00, but do 11:00 for long, slow runs and 9:00-10:00 for short, fast runs (on a GOOD day!)


    Okay, here is my trick for really picking up the speed for a short distance:  I play a certain song that has a quick beat that I can keep pace with.  I turn it up LOUD (distracts me from the effort I'm making!) and I concentrate on picking up my feet quickly as though I was running on hot coals rather than trying to lean forward and take longer strides.


    But of course this works only if you're already in good running shape.   With only 5 weeks to go and very little running under your belt and knee issues as well you shouldn't be doing intense speed work.  Instead I suggest that you just "comfortably" run 2 miles 4 times/week for the next couple of weeks.  Running slightly longer than the 1.5 miles will help you build up your endurance so you have a little extra in the tank for the burst of speed you will need on the day of the test run.  If you are comfortable enough during your run at an 11:00 pace, then add in some intervals like I just described above (1-2 minutes at a time).  But if you are struggling to maintain your pace and/or have pain in your knees then stick to your comfortable speed.  An injury will absolutely assure you of not meeting your goal!


    In the 3rd and 4th weeks, if all is going well, then go ahead and add 2 minute speed intervals during every other run - maybe one interval per mile - as long as you are feeling no pain. If you are feeling any pain, then stick to the easier runs and mix in some fast walking workouts (very brisk pace).  Plan to do easy runs in the last week and take off running a day or two before the test.  The day of the test - if you can't have headphones to help keep your pace - then play that song in your head!  Picture yourself picking up your feet to the tune that keeps you moving quickly.  You only have to run for 14 minutes!   It may be very difficult, but you can probably do it if you have been doing some of your 2 mile runs at close to 10:00 and don't have any injury.


    (FWIW, my go-to song for the speed intervals is Mr. Blue Sky by ELO.  I don't know exactly what the BPM is, but I do know that if I take a step for every beat in this song I am running a 9:00 pace!)


  • ColoCorredor Pro 97 posts since
    Dec 14, 2010
    Currently Being Moderated
    2. Jan 7, 2014 7:19 AM (in response to Marykb)
    Re: Newbie increasing speed question

    Hello & Congrats on getting into Running!


    If you are looking at increasing your speed, try to incorporate lunges into your cross-training.  Lunges extremely effective at building muscle in your legs,  butt, and lower pack, improving core strength and balance.  These  factors work together to improve your stride and cadence, and ultimately  your race time.  Also, take the stairs instead of the elevator of escalator.  And, if possible, try to jog up, and walk back to the bottom to repeat.  Running up short hills can have a similar effect to stairs, in that you allow your body to go full throttle on the way up, and recover on the way down.  This works wonders on increasing your speed and your endurance and recovery rates.


    Also, once you are a more seasoned runner, try to integrate fartlek or tempo runs into your running program.


    I hope this helps :-)  Good Luck and Happy Running!

    Believe you can do it. Think no other way but “Yes you can.”
    The human body is capable of considerably more physical endurance than most of us realize!!

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