A deceptively difficult workout

Chicago recaps are still coming, but I wanted to pop in here quickly to post a seriously tough speed workout I did this morning. If you’re trying to get faster at the half-marathon distance, this one will definitely challenge you and help get you ready to race.

I read about it on Runner’s World – a 10 mile progression run that finishes with the last two miles at 10 seconds faster than your goal half-marathon race pace. Since I’m aiming for a sub 1:30 half, that means my goal pace is around 6’50/mile, so the final two miles of this workout would be run at 6’40. Each mile before that is 15 seconds slower. So if you’re ending at 6’40, you start at 8’40 and go down from there.

It seemed like a fun workout to try (I think I’ve mentioned my masochistic streak on this blog before, so “fun” is definitely relative) and at first, it almost seemed too easy. The first three miles felt very slow, and I remember thinking it would be fine with me if this ended up being an easy day because Tuesday was a tempo run and Wednesday was hills.

Then mile 4 happened. And mile 5. And…you get the idea. The tough thing about this workout is that as you add distance, you also add speed, and your tired legs have to find some way to keep getting progressively faster. Those last two miles were seriously hard, and I really had to dig deep for that 6’40 pace (spoiler alert: didn’t get it!).

Screen Shot 2014-07-31 at 12.05.22 PM

That was the only thing I didn’t like about this workout – it was hard to maintain a certain pace without constantly looking at my GPS watch. I’m clearly not very good at maintaining a pace or even really knowing what pace I’m at, and it was harder once I switched over to miles for this specific workout. I can generally know how a 4’15 kilometer feels compared to a 4’30, but a 7’45 mile vs. a 7’25? Not so much. Also, sometimes it felt like my watch was stuck at a certain pace no matter how fast or slow I was running, and I have to wonder if there were some issues linking up to the satellites at times, even though I hate sounding like I’m blaming the watch for my results haha.

Despite not hitting the exact numbers I wanted at each mile nor getting faster by 15 seconds every mile, I still ran progressively negative splits so I’m really happy with that. Plus, I felt totally wiped at the end and really challenged, so that’s what matters more to me than a specific number. I cooled down with 1.5 mile recovery jog which I’m trying to implement after each run (not necessarily 1.5 mile, but somewhere between 1-2 miles).

Today’s workout reminded me of a saying I heard in a podcast: “You’ve got it all in the bank, and now it’s time to withdraw it.” They were talking about that really great, confident feeling you have lining up at the start on race day, knowing that you’ve put in all the time and hard work to train for the race, and now all you’ve got to do is go out and crush it. Workouts like this one are basically the equivalent of putting in a solid deposit in the bank account!



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