This spring has definitely been a surprisingly speedy one for me. Just by following my regular training plan (and focusing on speed this month), I’ve been able to shave about a minute per mile off my comfortable pace. I normally do a mix of tempo runs, Yasso 800s, and mile repeats. A few other ways to get faster that I am adding in to my summer training are hill repeats, strides, and fast friends. I have really high goals for both my next half and full, so mastering these speed workouts has been key to building a good training base.
Tempo runs: Warm up for 10-15 minutes (or 1-2 miles), then increase your pace for a designated period of time. I usually end up doing a more progression-style run depending on how I feel, where I incrementally increase my pace over a course of 30-50 minutes. Finish with a 10-15 minute cool-down at an easy pace.
Yasso 800s: Made famous by Bart Yasso, Chief Running Officer of Runner’s World, these are 800 meter repeats done at goal pace. Start with a 10-15 minute warm up, then do 4-8 repeats with a 400 meter easy recovery jog in between each. Finish with a 10-15 minute cool-down at an easy pace. Yasso 800s came about when Bart realized he could predict his marathon finish time on how fast he could finish 10 repeats, converting hours to minutes. So if you’re trying to run a 4:30 marathon, you should be able to finish 10 800 meter repeats at a pace of 4 minutes, 30 seconds for each one. Here is a good video that explains them.
Mile repeats: They sound easy, but they are rough. After a warm-up, run 3-5 miles at goal pace, with a half mile (800 meter) recovery jog in between each.
Hill repeats: Similar to 800s or mile repeats, but uphill. Not looking forward to these, but I know they will make me a stronger runner.
Strides: After a warm-up, increase speed to almost max effort for 100 meters, then slow back down for a short recovery. Do 6-8 times before cool-down.
Fast friends: Running with other people not only gets you more committed, but friends that are faster help push you though a workout and do more than you thought. The only reason I even stuck with running and got to where I am today was by running with friends, and most days I miss it.
Coming up next month: June is all about the mental game, which I am going to need with marathon training starting up again!