As Ellie and I progress through our training program, getting ever closer to the date, we are now responsible for introducing speed work into our normal routines. Our program describes speed work as the following:

“Speed work, either using intervals or hills, builds your aerobic fitness, strength and speed. Interval training involves running fast, but not sprinting, over a set distance (200 or 400m) or time at an effort level of 10. Hill running involves keeping your pace roughly constant but increasing intensity to effort level 10 by changing the gradient up which you are running. Each hard run should be followed by a slow recovery running break of at least the same length before repeating. Using a treadmill can help to get the distances, times or gradients right.” – Bupa Running

I’ve never really done this type of workout before. When I run I typically head out and just run. If I am feeling good, I run faster. When I am feeling bad, I run slower. I’ve never been a big fan of trying to maintain a certain pace or stay within a perceived effort level. However, now that our program has instructed us to do it, I thought I’d give it a shot.

Last night Ellie and I ran to the gym, getting in an extra 2.5 miles. Once there, I decided that I’d try to do some speed work on the Treadmill. I hopped on and started at an easy pace for a quarter of a mile. As soon as the treadmill hit the 0.25 mark, I ramped it up to a 5:35 mile, and proceeded at this pace until I hit the 0.50 mark. By my calculation that was roughly a 400 meter interval. I reduced speed down to a gentle trot to avoiding puking (a nice 11 minute mile pace) and continued on until the 0.75 mile mark. Once there, I pushed the speed up again, this time slightly slower to a 6:00 mile mark. I tried my best to maintain it until the 1 mile mark, but I eased up a bit around 0.90. To say speed work is uncomfortable is an understatement.

I only did 2 by 400(ish)m , which is far short of my schedules 30 minutes of speed work, but it wasn’t too bad for my first real attempt at it. I do think I’m going to do most of my speed work on the treadmill though, because although it does pull me through the workout, I think having the distance and pace easily set is a nice help.

Any of you veteran runners out there have advice on how you do intervals? I’d love some tips or tricks!