Last year, all of my training runs had a singular focus – endurance. I just wanted to learn how to cover the miles no matter how fast or slow. My most important speed goal was to cross the finish before the course was closed.

So for a change of pace (ha!), I am focusing my current training on speed. I want to document my training plan here so that later I can look back and re-evaluate, tweak and improve.

I’m following a speedwork plan developed by my favorite running guru, Jeff Galloway. I do one speed session each week, running around Daffin Park because the path is marked at every quarter mile. The basics are this: 5-10 minute warmup walk/jog, then 3 acceleration gliders. This involves running 10 steps really slowly, then 10 steps at normal training pace, and then 20 steps in an all-out sprint before gliding back down into a slow jog. I’m pretty sure the other runners at Daffin think I’ve lost my mind with all the speeding up and slowing back down.

After that, I run 800 meters (1/2 mile) as hard as I can, and the goal I set was to run that distance in under 5:15 minutes (I’ve been averaging about 4:30, so yay!). I do this three times and nearly fall over. Then I repeat the acceleration gliders and call it a day.

The funny thing is, I measure the whole workout (not just the 800-meter intervals), and my overall pace on speedwork days is usually slower than my other training runs. I get so out of breath during those 1/2 mile runs that I have to walk for a while to regain my composure before starting the next interval.

From what I understand, the point of all these gliders and intervals is to help my body learn how to run more efficiently, and therefore more quickly. I get to test the theory next Friday when I run my next 5K. I’ve only been doing the speedwork for a month, so I don’t know if that’s long enough to see any real change. I would really love to run a sub-30-minute 5K this year, but that would mean shaving more than three minutes off my most recent race time. I think that should be do-able this year, but I may not be there just yet. We shall see!

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