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Thursday, February 28, 2008

Speed Reflections

Thanks for the compliments on last night's speedy 4 miler. Certainly, those were not usual digits for me (consistently running sub-9 min/miles for 4 miles has never happened before); however, in the past few months, you're right to observe that I have been working on getting faster.

I suppose D10 already said it best when she observed her own increase in speed, but I will repeat her thoughts here because they are so in synch with my own.

See from Sept '06 through Oct '07, I was pretty much solely focused on marathon training. First for Disney and then later for Chicago. And I think I was just so focused on completing the distances, I didn't even conceive of the idea that I could be pushing myself to go faster. After Chicago, when I resolved that I would lay off the full marathon for awhile, I started to see what I was capable of over shorter distances. At first, it was hard. I was so used to zeroing in on my marathon pace -- 10:30/mile -- that to pick up the pace was difficult.

But slowly, I have seen gradual increases in my speed ability. No, I have not been consciously doing tempo runs or speed intervals -- essentially my method has been much more simplistic: run faster. Plus, something I read somewhere (honest to god, I don't know where -- either in RW or on someone's blog) has stuck with me: "If you want to run faster, you have to run faster." In other words? All that time spent "wishing" I could run faster was useless; turns out I had actually had to push my little legs to go faster in order to see any difference. Weird, huh?

Anyhoo, by no means can I hang with the fast chicks yet, but the improvement is certainly satisfying.

In other news, it's 50 degrees here in South Florida today -- very frigid -- but to me, that means perfect running temps. So, later I plan on putting in something between 6-7 miles. I'm sure I won't be able to replicate yesterday's speed, nor would it be my aim to do so, but I'm looking forward to something a little lengthier.

Have a good Thursday, peeps!

21 comments:

Mendy said...

I was gonna ask you how you got faster, not that you were slow to begin with. I think you've always been a consistent running, and I admire that about you. But, here lately every time you post, it's faster and faster, so I was anxious to see how. I am ready to pick up the pace. Thanks a lot for your posts. I'm striving to be where you are.

Doug said...

Isn't the improvement crazy motivating? I always think it is.

Keep at it, you'll be leaving Marcy in the dust pretty soon! (Yeah Marcy, them are fightin' words)

David said...

Damn, I just commented on the other one. Now I have to try to come up with something else witty. Hang on...

working....

working...

Nope, not coming to me. Oh well.

That's kinda the method I've used to getting faster; just run faster. Knowing the rate or perceived exertion (RPE) for each distance helps, and then run at the desired RPE for that distance to push harder. My 85-90% is way different for a 3 mile than for a 10 mile. One day I hope my 10 mile pace is the same as my current 3 mile pace, and I suppose I'll have to do some formal speed training to help cross that barrier. But, as you say, simply running faster has helped me run faster. Good job!!

Non-Runner Nancy said...

Just run faster. You know, whenever I'm done, I always wonder if I should have just pushed harder. I guess if you buy into all that heart rate stuff you could over do it, but I do sometimes think I just need to push a little harder. I tried this on the treadmill last night and seemed to be able to go a little faster. You give me hope -- not that you were as slow as me. :D Good work.

Triseverance said...

Happy to hear you are seeing results.
I was just in South Florida (Marco Island) and left Wednesday as the cool weather blew in. I think it follows me.

My Life & Running said...

First - sooo awesome on your 8min miles! Wow! And I really liked this post. It's a good point about worrying about getting faster vs. marathon training. This is exactly what I've been hashing out lately.

D10 said...

Great run yesterday!!! I am sure you will be hanging around in the
8s more than you think. After a while it will become your normal pace. You can totally be a consistent eighter (is that even a word???) if you want. Again, awesome run.

Christine said...

I know what u mean with tha marathon training. Maybe I'll get faster AFTER my first marathon. But for now...I just want to finish! haha

Jess said...

Those splits from yesterday rock! Congrats! And I've been working on getting faster too. It's fun seeing the time improvements!

Running Jayhawk said...

Hmm...

I like that quote.

A lot, actually.

AnthonyP said...

It is great that you have improved. I think that speed training is important at any distance. Not too much of it, though (I typically get in 1 speed training session a week). Everyone is different, but, for me, i've found that training at a slower pace has also helped to increase my speed (I've used heart rate training to improve on speed by attempting to increase the pace I can keep at a certain heart rate. There is agreat thread from the old Coolrunning on base building and low heart rate training : http://www.coolrunning.com/forums/Forum6/HTML/025568.shtml

You can also check out the Hadd approach to distance training : http://72.14.205.104/search?q=cache:CZzMd_22DDUJ:www.electricblues.com/Hadd.doc+hadd+heart+rate+training&hl=en&ct=clnk&cd=3&gl=us

Keep up the great work.

AnthonyP said...

Just to correct the links above :

http://www.coolrunning.com/forums/Forum6/HTML/025568.shtml

and

http://72.14.205.104/search?q=cache:CZzMd_22DDUJ:www.electricblues.com/Hadd.doc+hadd+heart+rate+training&hl=en&ct=clnk&cd=3&gl=us

J~Mom said...

Jess that is fantastic advice!! I am finally switching my thinking from "just getting it done" to some quality running.

audgepodge said...

I can totally relate to you! Like you, I spent a lot of last year specifically training for the marathon (but in my case, it was Chicago first, then Disney!) So yeah, my main goal was just to make sure I got the miles in, whatever the pace. I think I actually got slower during this time because like you said, I wasn't running faster. Anyway, I'm focusing on shorter races this time around so hopefully I show some improvement like you!

Laura N said...

Great job on the fast miles! Hope you enjoy your longer run in the cool temps.

Viv said...

Wonderful job on the speed progression! You can tell you have been working really hard at it and your times are showing your hard efforts.

Southern Fried Girl said...

Those times are so fabby. You should indeed be proud.

ws said...

that's really great Jess - it is also amazing to watch the progress on the blog...hope you enjoy your long run in the cool weather tonight...

Firefly's Running said...

Nice job. It does truly take time to get faster. It is very amazing what the results of hard work and improvement make things feel so good.

Awesome job!

Marcy said...

You're totally fast, chica! I'll run 8:58 with you any day :-)

And Doug keeps begging me to use Nancy's club on his legs :P Keep it up homie, keep it up!

teacherwoman said...

That makes sense to me. But, at the same time it seems like it takes a lot of hard work and effort to become faster! way to go, Jess!