Speed work for me is a little different from speed work for most people. At least I think it is. Basically, I hate it, and I’m very slow, despite a LONG running history and two half marathons! I almost never run for time, but I do keep time for my long runs, the 10-milers, and my pace is about 11 minutes a mile. For any non-runners … this is pretty SLOW!
Since I’m hoping to break my last half marathon time (2h07m) and run the one in a few weeks in under 2 hours, I decided to start a little bit of speed work. For the first time ever.
For me, this means “sprinting” every other block or so on one 3-mile run per week. And “sprinting” is in quotes for a reason…I am slow slow slow slow slow.
That said, I have been able to pick up my pace at the end of some of my longer runs. I think it’s because of the speed work I have been doing. I don’t delude myself that this kind of one block on / one block off stuff will make a serious change to my longer run pace – but I think it does have a benefit.
I think the benefit of this sort of speed work, for me, is just practicing in my body what it feels like to pick up my pace. I am now used to running for longer, and not stopping, but it is helpful with this to just see what it is like to run fast. And then, on occasion – do it!
It makes me think of kicking up into headstand.
I know that kicking up into headstand at the wall is Not Good. And the correct way is to draw your knees in to your chest and use core strength lift them. Who am I to argue with this?
For me, though, it is So Incredibly Scary to be upside down with the feeling that I might fall over backwards. If kicking up gently helps me get into the pose and see that – GASP! – I did not fall over backwards, slam down onto my back, and have the wind knocked out of me, that helps me gain the confidence I need to stay calm in that pose. Which is essential to doing the pose correctly.
Like my poor man’s speed work, kicking into headstand helped me just see what it felt like in my body to be in headstand, and to be so relatively safely and successfully.