Sunday’s race taught me a few things.
First, it showed me that it is possible for me to run faster. Watching my friend clock in nearly three minutes ahead of me surprised me. I knew she’d probably pass me, but it was a lot of time. I’ve been kind of subscribing to the belief that I’ll always be a slow runner, and that distance will help me improve my short run speeds. And it has. But knowing my friend has only been training for three months and blew my PR out of the water, by a lot showed me that if I trained differently, more towards that goal, I could improve speed.
Second, it kindled my desire to run faster. I’ve been focusing on distance for over a year, and not doing anything that works on speed. I’ve read about speed training, hill work, fartleks, all of these things, but I’ve eschewed them to build up distance. But with summer coming, those long runs of 90 minutes or more are going to be a tough sell. The heat will kick in, and I’ll need to pull my runs off before 7am….neither of which is conducive to training with long runs.
So I thought about it, and realized that it’s time to really work on this. Time to really train for speed. So I’m going to embark on another 5k training plan, but this time, I’m going to use those intervals that I originally used just to not be walking to work on speed. Yesterday, I pulled up my RunKeeper’s 5K training plan and started the first run: essentially the equivalent of a Week 1 Day 1 in Couch 2 5K. I’m using the RunKeeper for several reasons. One, I like that all of my running activities are tracked and in the same place. Secondly, it will track my distance with GPS, which my original Couch 2 5K app did not do. The RunKeeper training is very different….longer runs combined with interval training. I think this will work better with my fitness level. I don’t want to give up just straight running. The combination of the interval runs with regular runs sounds like a perfect fit.
And then I saw this other thing going around the fitness blogs that sparked my interest:
The Summer Challenge from Runner’s World is to run a mile every single day from Memorial Day to July 4. Just a mile. This is doable. Combining this with my training and the bootcamp classes I think will really help keep me accountable and honest. Even on “rest days” I should be able to log in a mile, even if it’s a slow one. And on training days obviously I’ll run more. Last year I found summer to be a huge challenge, and committing to something like this will really help me make staying on top of my training a priority.
I’m excited about both of these things I’m doing. I feel like I’m working again towards a goal. I would like to, sometime around July 4, find a 5K to run to gain a real sense of how much improvement I’ve seen. I want to realistic, but I think if I really push and work towards this I can see some improvement. Later in the fall, I’d like to start working towards half marathon training. By then the weather will be cooler and I’ll have more time to train. But for now, I feel the need for speed.