Friday, January 29, 2016

Toughen your speedwork

Does the following describe you? You love the Thursday Starbucks runs however you feel you’re in a rut – always the same run, same distance, same pace. To be sure, this weekly run is a lot of fun to meet the group, chat, laugh, and do some aerobic endurance miles. However, maybe you’d like to get more out of this workout over the winter.  Shake the trees a bit. Mix it up.  Let's say you’re an experienced runner who’s done a few half marathons in the 2:05-2:15 range, and you're targeting a sub 2hr half marathon in Spring. Here are 2 good choices to consider to improve the quality of your Starbucks run over the next several weeks.  
Option A:   “Pick-up Intervals”
*  Warmup:   1/2mi @ easy run pace
* Mainset: 
o   3min @ 8:30min/mi pace
o   3min @ 9:00min/mi pace
o   3min @ 8:30min/mi pace
o   3min @ 9:00min/mi pace
o   3min @ 8:30min/mi pace
o   3min @ 9:00min/mi pace
o   3min @ 8:30min/mi pace
o   3min @ 9:00min/mi pace
* Cooldown:   1/2mi easy pace back to the coffee shop
* Comments:   there are no pauses in the mainset – the 3min @ the slower pace is an active recovery window.   By comparison to the faster 3min, it’ll feel terrific.   This assumes you’d run out-and-back to ~ Ravenscroft or so.   Consider that the return leg back to SBX via Strictland is a gentle grade upward, which will make those last four rotations a veritable kick in the pants.
Option B:  “Indian run”
* You’ll need to round up 3-4 similarly paced peeps for this.   I think there’s enough sidewalk to handle this workout, provided that everyone is looking for cement cracks, curbs, over-taking other runners, single file spacing, etc.
*  Warmup:  1/2mi @ easy run pace
*  Mainset:
o   You run for 20min as a group in an indian format.  here's how that'll look
o   Your group is single file, spaced 5yds apart, the whole time.   Keep that 5yd spacing the whole time – it’s key to the workout!
o   The person at the back of the line sprints to the front and moves into the lead
o   At that same moment, the new person at the back of the line sprints forward and moves into the lead.  And so on, and so on.  
*  Cooldown:  1/2mi easy run pace back to SBX for coffee and camaraderie w/ the peeps
*  Comments:   20min is a good target to achieve during the mainset.   Folks, this is an intense workout, so the mainset isn’t especially long.   It’ll feel like a LOT of brief “bursts”.   Key is to find 3-4 folks of similar pace however we have many folks who are comfy running in the 1:55:00-2:10:00 range for a half and this is a great workout for them.   This assumes an out-and-back route on Strictland, however it’d be more fun if you ran through the neighborhood as you’ll have more space.  I would highly recommend that vs the sidewalk.

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