Doing My First Speed Workout

This week, I started my winter training block focused on lowering my 5k time. And that meant that today was my first speed workout.

Other than it being fairly cold, things worked out well. I enjoyed it, it felt good, and I’m looking forward to a few more of these throughout Phase 1.

Dealing with the Weather

So it’s November in New Jersey, and you never really know what that’s going to mean in terms of weather. Some days it’ll be sunny and warm, and others it will be downright frigid.

This week is a case in point. I woke up this morning, checked the weather app on my phone, and realized it was about 30 degrees and sunny. Looking ahead in the week, it will be 60 degrees and sunny on Friday.

Regardless, I had to figure out how to deal with the weather this morning. I’m good in shorts and a tee shirt down to about 40-45 degrees, especially if the sun is out. Although I sometimes wear gloves

I had gotten some running tights (32 Degrees Mens Heat Performance Baselayer Leggings) and long sleeve shirts (32 Degrees Heat Performance Crewneck Long Sleeve Top) from Costco, in preparation for winter. I decided to try these out today, and then I threw on some running shorts over the leggings, grabbed some gloves, and put on a neck gaiter.

When I first stepped outside, it felt a bit cold. But once I got done with my warm-up mile, I felt pretty good. There was a breeze, and it was a bit chilly in the shade. But overall I thought this was a good approach. I’ll stick with this outfit for future days in the 30’s, and the only thing I’ll change if it gets into the 20’s is adding a hoodie on top.

Doing the Workout

The speed workout was inspired by Jack Daniels’ Running Formula and his repetition work. If you’re unfamiliar with the book, you can read more about it here.

First, I used my recent mile time trial to set my pace. I ran the mile in 6:41, and according to the VDOT calculator that put my repetition pace at about 6:45 per mile.

I ran my workout at the Orange Reservoir Loop, since I don’t have access to a regular 400m track. The loop has markings every 1/10 mile. Jack Daniels’ rep workouts usually start at 200m, but I figured if I was using 1/10 mile as a building block I’d round up to 2/10 mile – 320m.

So I adjusted my pace to reflect the distance, and my target was 81 seconds. This was my first time doing this, but I figured I could handle a slightly faster pace. So my goal was 75 to 80 seconds per 320m. I planned on doing a recovery jog of an equal distance (320m) in between work bouts. I planned on running 5 x 320m.

After my warm up, I got right down to it. The first rep felt easy, and I clocked in at 75 seconds. The next two felt a little tougher, but I kept hitting the pace – finishing in 76 and 74 seconds. The fourth rep I dropped off a bit, but at 79 seconds I was still technically below the goal pace. The fifth rep I tried to kick it up a notch and ended up going slightly faster – 73 seconds.

Overall, I’m really happy with the workout. I need to hone in a bit on the consistency, but the splits were mostly consistent. The last rep left me tired, but I wasn’t completely exhausted. I was able to go directly into my cool down recovery jog and run about a mile back to my house.

What’s Next in the Plan

Tomorrow is an easy recovery day, and I’ll jog 3 to 5 miles. After a day off on Friday, I’ll be out for another speed workout on Saturday.

With the weather being nice, I’m not sure that I’ll want to run at the reservoir. It’ll likely be packed with walkers, and I don’t want to make people uncomfortable during Covid.

So instead, I think I might do some time-based sprint intervals. Now that I’m familiar with the pace, I’ll try doing 90 seconds of sprinting with 3 minutes of recovery.

The GPS was pretty accurate today – tracking each lap at 0.19 or 0.20 miles – so I figure I can use that to double check that I’m running the right distance. If I maintain a similar pace (6:30/mile, give or take), I should be running approximately 0.23 or 0.24 miles each lap.

Another interesting thing I noticed in the data today was my max heart rate. Previously, I’d only seen it get up to 180 once and 175 before that. In my final lap, when I was really pushing the pace, it peaked at a max of 192. That might be an error, but it was in the high 180’s for most of that lap.

Anyway, happy Wednesday! I’ll post another update this weekend after I see how the next workout goes.

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