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Two weeks to get fast

April 23, 2010

I’ve run long for the past few months, but I can’t help but feel it’s taken a toll on the speed I can comfortably run over a middle-distance race. Now, with a number of short races (5k, 7k and 10k) just round the corner, I need to boost my speed – and fast.

The first week after the Paris Marathon was full of unstructured, easy, recovery runs. It surprised me quite how much the race seemed to take out of my legs. In fact, the first long run a week after the race, I got through the first mile and wondered how exactly I was going to struggle through the remaining miles. Fortunately, it got easier from that point and I decided it was still time to take it easy.

Now my legs have recovered and I’m ready to start building speed, I need to incorporate a few different training techniques into my week:

  1. Hill work. The Blenheim 7k takes in some not insubstantial hills, which are generally considered challenging at the best of times. So, my longer Sunday runs are including some hill repeats – not just including some hills, but running each hill around three times in quick succession to build strength and recovery.
  2. Speed work. The track sessions were the first to suffer from the volume of the marathon training, but now the weekly distance has settled back to more normal levels, they’re back on the agenda. Great for practice at running beyond race pace, and good for improving recovery times. (It’s also quite nice that there’s no longer ice on the tight corners  of the track – makes life a lot easier!)
  3. Progression runs. I introduced these in the final weeks of the marathon training – they basically work on the principle of pushing for speed towards the end of the run, so you’re used to running on tired legs – and they seemed to work well. However, I need to get the speed of these final miles up. If I’m to run my target 10k time this year (36 minutes), I’ll need to run 5:45–6:00 miles towards the end of these runs.

So, while I don’t have a formal training schedule drawn out (and perhaps I will do, once we’re past the immediate races), I have a strategy for the balance of running I want to achieve. That’s the plan, anyway.

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