The Road to the Half: Speed Work
Today I did speed intervals on my treadmill for today’s training run.
It was rainy here this morning so I resigned myself that I would do today’s four miles on the treadmill anyway. But then I was thinking that treadmills are really great for keeping track of and forcing you to a certain level of speed. So I decided that I would create some intervals after an initial warm up.
My normal pace for running four miles outside would tend to be around 5 miles an hour or perhaps 5.1 or 5.2 for most of the run. I tend to run slower on the treadmill, I’m not sure why. I would probably have maxed out at 4.8 or 4.9, crawling up to 5.0 for some, but not all of the run.
Today, after half a mile, I decided to do two minute intervals. I did my slow run at 4.7 mph, and then after two minutes, I upped it to 5.5. I told myself I would do the speed for two minutes, and then the slower jog for two minutes. I talked myself into upping the speed by a tenth of a mile each time until I hit 6.0. Once I hit 6, I told myself, I’d dial it back a tenth of a mile again in two minute intervals until I got back to 5.5.
The 5.5-5.7 intervals were fine. Definitely a bit challenging, but doable. 5.8 was the breaking point. I made it to 1:45 and then had to stop. I had to give myself thirty seconds of walking to get back in the game. After that I told myself I’d do 1:30 intervals from there on out. Which I did, until 6.0, where I only made it 1:15.
From there I did two minutes of jog, 1:30 of run until I made it back down to 5.5. That took me nearly to my allotted four miles, which worked out perfectly.
I wouldn’t say I am a fan of the speed work, but I will admit it made the time on the treadmill go much faster, literally and figuratively. Literally in that my four miles were done several minutes quicker than they would have been done otherwise, and figuratively in the sense that I never got bored because I was always thinking about getting through the next interval. I definitely did feel a sense of accomplishment afterwards, though. I can see the benefit, for sure.
Tomorrow is supposed to be five miles, and it is supposed to be rainy again. I might try hills on the treadmill with the incline in the same type of way tomorrow. We’ll see.