Monday, September 5, 2011

A Note on Speed Work...

Something about a three day weekend is just magical. I hope you all are enjoying the holiday and down time.

Last night we decided to go on a night-time dog walk. The Hubs grabbed LB's skateboard and I grabbed my Razor Scooter. LB opted to run. I bet we went over a mile and he ran the whole way. It was dark but we managed some action shots....

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The Hubs and LB headed to the gym and dropped me off at the track en route. I was excited to get my interval/speed work in on a track as opposed to the dreadmill. My RLRF workout for today had me doing a 10-20 min warm up, 6x800m @ 7:26 min/mile pace with 1:30 rest between, then a 10-20 min cool down. This was a killer today. When I woke up this AM it was nice and cool, probably 65 degrees. Dummy me waited until noon to hit the track. It was hot and humid and I wanted to QUIT. But I didn't. It feels good to finish a HARD workout!


Since I had my fitness assessment I have been very curious about VO2 Max, training, lactate threshold, and improving overall. I now know that the speed work, regardless of the race distance we are training for, is an integral part of training. Even ultra runners do speed work. While increasing weekly mileage will increase your VO2 Max, it is the speed work that will have the most lasting impact on your VO2 Max levels.

MANY MANY MANY of you have inquired about where to get this testing done. I am sorry to say the facility where I did mine was on the military installation and is for active duty military and their dependents. Although I was told that you can looking into your local universities and inquire about it with their Exercise Science or Physiology departments. They may often do testing at a fraction of the cost (thanks Run Faster Mommy!).

Anyway, if you want to improve your ability to increase the amount of oxygen that your body can uptake and deliver to your muscles and then remove the lactate from your muscles at the a same time (to keep you from getting so sore you have to stop, walk, or lay down and die...) it is recommended that you run intervals at a pace that is 15-30 sec faster than your 5k race pace. Wow! That is FAST, right? Either way, this can be a good indicator of your 100% VO2 Max pace if you have a recent 5k to go by. You can run that pace for 400s, 800s, 1200s...shoot even 200s. The point is that you run that pace repeatedly (in the beginning 3 to 4 intervals and as you progress 5 to 8 or more intervals), with a small amount of rest between where your heart rate drops down to well below the 90-100% range of your Max Heart Rate (MHR). Depending on your fitness level that could be between 1:30 to 3 or 4 min of rest between.

Simply put, add mileage and intensity into your workouts once a week to improve your VO2 Max. By increasing your aerobic capacity you will certainly see an improvement in your conditioning and your race times! And get this, you can improve VO2 Max by decreasing your body fat percentage (not weight, but body fat specifically). Long story short....I'll be seeing you at the track! Happy Speed Work! But, if you are new to speed work or are just starting out building your mileage base, don't worry about VO2 Max just yet. It will come...Continue to build your weekly mileage and focus you running effort on gaining that base. Then start the speed work.

It's time to hit the track!

And with summer coming to a close the temps will be a little easier to handle.....

So what do you think? You gonna hit the track?


  1. I know I'm pretty much awesome, anyways. :P

    Wednesdays I do VO2 max training with the Masters group. Can I use that instead of track workouts?? I have no idea where to even find a track here.

  2. i love track workouts

    i found a place near me that does some testing and i might ask hubby for it as a gift

  3. Yes, with summer coming to a close the high school track is opening up again. I have to get over there. Thanks for the reminder. I've been pretty much steady pace all summer, but I'm going to get some intervals soon. I wish we had a VO2 max facility here. I've always wondered...

  4. I actually hit a track to do speed work for the FIRST time last week and loved it! I am definitely going to visit it a least once a week for some speed training!

  5. And your son is training for his first tri next summer.

  6. Wow, super sweaty run!! You rock!!

  7. I love speed work although admittedly I do a lot of it on the treadmill. It feels so god to break a sweat like that!!

  8. I hit the track this morning!! Speed work definitely helps!! I ran my faster speedwork today!! I always dread speed training on the track but hopefully PRs will be the reward!!!

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  10. Weird last comment! I do intend to hit the track at some point, but i really do loathe that circle (oval)! Something too repetitive about it for me!

  11. awesome weekend it sounds like you had! love doing sprints at the track!

  12. great post. i've been doing speedwork as part of my RLRF plan sine july and its made a big difference in my running and helped me set a 4 min 5k pr last weekend :)

  13. Yes!!! Those speed workouts will bite you in the ass! But they are so so so good for you!! Keep it up buddy!

  14. I agree - track work is what gotten me best race outcomes. Nothing like finishing a hard track workout!

  15. This is awesome... I wish I had a track close to my home!!


You're pretty much awesome!!


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