My new speed workout
Feb. 17 2013
Years ago I was introduced to speedwork in my marathon training to get faster. It didn’t seem to make sense how these relatively short bursts would help in an endurance event, but it did. At first it consisted of the usual tempo runs, Fartleks, even some track work.
Then I came across Yasso 800’s developed by the legendary Bart Yasso. These are supposed to be a predictor of your marathon performance. The basic premise is you run ten 800 meter repeats and the time you run them in translates to your marathon time. So you run your ten Yasso’s in 3 minutes 30 seconds each, then you should be able to run your marathon in 3 hours and 30 minutes. While I think this is a great workout I have yet to find anyone that it has worked as an exact predictor and this ranges from a 2:36 marathoner to the 5 hour crowd. If it worked, I would have run a couple of Boston’s by now. Regardless, I still do them as a final test of my preparedness for marathons as I think it is an excellent predictor of if you are ready for your marathon.
One thing most speedwork workouts have in common is they are redundant and not fun (Fartleks excluded). They consist of running hard to the point of exhaustion, draining every ounce of strength from my legs strength. Recently I created a new workout by accident. It is requires two runners and is great if one runner is faster and you normally don’t get to run together. Here is how it goes:
I leave before Carolyn if we are running the same distance. We both run the same route and she tries catching up to me and I try go stay not let that happen. Then after she catches up with me as she always does, I need to keep up with her for the rest of the way home. If she is running farther than me, I leave after her and my route intersects hers towards the end. We time it so the final mile should be her on my heels or me struggling to keep up with her.
I run this as on days I am doing my speedwork and Carolyn is doing an moderate run. It is great because it pushes me to run faster when she is chasing me because I want to run as little as possible at her pace. Plus there is the whole ego thing. On days I am chasing her I also have to run fast so I am able to catch her, otherwise I am running hard with no reward.
So if your running partner is like mine in that your joint runs consist of starting out together and then reconvening at the finish this is a great way to run together. Even when she isn’t with me, she is with me. I am consumed with thoughts of avoiding her or of catching her and it keeps my focus on running hard after a goal – a real tangible goal, not simply running against the clock. I am sure down the road this workout is going also be great training for finishing races, not allowing other runners to pass me when I am tired down the stretch.