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Thursday, March 26, 2009

TIART: Speed Hints

This Week's Take it and Run Thursday - Tips to satisfy the need for speed!... We have heard from many of you that you would like to get faster this spring and this running season.   And we know an equal amount of runners who have found some great ideas on how to work on getting faster.   Tell us about a tip, technique, training idea or magical potion you use to help you become or stay fast(er).

At first I thought I wouldn't participate in this one.  I know I'm not fast.  I've run four marathons, all of them over 6 hours.  My fastest mile time is 10 minutes.  I get where I'm going, but I get there slowly.  What possibly could I have to say to anyone about getting faster?  Still, I thought maybe I could say a few words for those people out there who are like me - slow, but determined.

Lose Weight
The absolute biggest factor for me so far in my speed has been my weight.  I speed up the more weight I lose.  It makes total sense - I mean, if I'm running with 15-20 more pounds on me, well, I'm probably going to run slower.  So, this would be first and foremost on any plan to get faster - if you are overweight, lose the weight.  This is frequently overlooked by magazines like Runner's World, because I think it's expected that runners are going to be naturally thin people.  The fact of the matter is, I can be very in shape and have a lot of endurance.  I can run many miles a week, and run marathons.  That does NOT mean that I'm thin.  In fact, when I trained for my first marathon, I gained 25 pounds.

For 2009, my running goal is to run a marathon in under 6 hours. To do this, I think I need  to at least maintain my weight, but I really need to get another 10-15 pounds off.  The great news is that I find this to be pretty great motivation for losing weight, and makes it a lot easier to justify my weight loss to others.  Most of the time, if you're just losing weight for looks or whatever, you get a lot of people who want to give you the "but it's what's inside that matters" BS talk, but they shut up when it's about running.  When it comes down to it, I want to be faster more than I want to be thinner, so I need the extra motivation.

Run faster
It seems like common sense, but somehow I missed the "If you want to run faster, you have to run faster" thing for a while.  You can't run a half marathon and expect that to mean that you can really fly through a 5k.  They are two totally different races.  In order to get faster, you have to work on getting faster at a shorter distance, and you need to incorporate speed training.  Now, my fellow running group friends have a low tolerance for track workouts, and I have a low tolerance of any workout that doesn't involve my running group friends.  I've come up with a couple of ways to incorporate speed training into my workouts without them.

First, I do run alone on weekdays.  I've found that Cardio Coach workouts have really helped me to incorporate sprints into my workouts.  Many of the workouts incorporate sprints - some very fast and some uphill, and these have really helped me to get faster.  See my past post about Cardio Coach.

Second, I am slipping some speed training secretly into the program this year.  Leapfrogs - have the group run in a line.  The back person has to pass the pack and become the lead person.  Then the next person in the back becomes the lead.  This will incorporate some sprints without my running group having to do the track workouts that they pretty much refuse to do.

So, there you go, some speed tips from a slow runner! :) 


raulgonemobile said...

OMG.. I haven't done leapfrogs in years. Oh, the horrid memories.

Great tips!

Kim said...

I think my group (which consists of people who are new to running or haven't been running their whole lives) just gets super intimidated by words like "track" and "repeats" and "fartleks" and "intervals", so I'm hoping leapfrogs will seem more like a game and less like real speed training. We shall see how they react to it!

Cyndi said...

I am curious about CardioCoach. Do you have a particular workout you reccommend? I've been to the site and there are so many to choose from it would be great to hear which ones you have used and liked.


Kim said...

I have a lot of trouble recommending any one over another. I personally like the middle ones the best - 4,5 and 6. That is because their length is more conducive to the length of a workout that I like to do, so I don't have to repeat challenges or quit early. I think the music is GREAT in 5 and and above. Honestly, you just can't go wrong.

See my in depth review here - Cardio Coach

merrymishaps said...

You definitely can learn to run faster by running faster. That's one of my tips :)

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