Friday, January 19, 2007

Spicing up those 5Ks

As my readers will recall, I'm planning to do fifty timed 5K workouts and fifty timed 5-mile workouts this year. I'm fortunate that there is a quarter-mile track about a block from my house that practically no one but me ever uses - it's like my own personal outdoor treadmill. Most of the time I like running there. But it's true that it can get a little boring going around in circles.

So far by today, 19 days into the year, I've done five timed 5Ks at times between 31:12 and 37:12. I've done two timed 5-milers at 58:09 and 59:09. (Uh, yeah, this goal is proceeding a lot more consistently than that 5 fruits-or-veggies-per-day thing.)

Part of my objective is to just get myself more accustomed to running continuously without taking walk breaks. So the main excitement when I do these runs is to pause and take a swig out of my water bottle and maybe reverse direction every four laps or so. I do get to watch people playing tennis and the skies change and the local animals - deer emerging cautiously from the forest at dusk, bunnies coming out to graze, Canada geese honking or paddling in puddles, sometimes cats watching me curiously, ospreys overhead holding fish in their feet, and even a bald eagle once.

But I'd like to spice it up with a little speedwork, while still getting in my timed distance without taking rest breaks or stopping my watch.

Today Coach Julia had this good suggestion for me:
  • 2km run + 10 x 100m strides + 2km run
which sounded like fun way to incorporate speedwork, though I'll have to figure out how to arrange that around the track and still do the 5K distance for time. Maybe I'll do 4 laps warmup, then 5 laps where I sprint on the 100-yard straightaways and jog around the curves, then 3.5 more laps warmdown to conclude.

Do you have any other similar ideas for me? There are 12.5 laps to work with for the (approximate) 5K distance, 20 laps for the 5 mile distance.


21st Century Mom said...

I think you need a longer rest interval the first few times you do this. I'd do sprints up the right side of the track and run more slowly the rest of the way for the first workout and then work toward increasing the repeats of running both straigts and jogging the corners. That will give you both goals and variety.

workout 1
round 1-5 = warm up
round 6 - 10 = strides on the straight followed by slower run the rest of the way
rounds 11-12.5 cool down.

workout 2
round 1-4 = warm up
round 5 - 10 = strides on the straight followed by slower run the rest of the way
rounds 11-12.5 cool down

etc. until it looks like:
round 1 = warm up
round 2 - 11 = strides on the straight followed by slower run the rest of the way
rounds 12-12.5 cool down

Then you could work toward running both straights at top speed.

Too slow? You make the call.

jeanne said...

no ideas, i just think that's a really cool goal!

Julia said...

Just don't mix up "strides" and "sprints". In a sprint you want to run very fast. In a stride you want to concentrate on form and rhythm.

Most runners who are just beginning to incorporate strides in their workouts pick out 100 meters, start out at one end and run to the "finish". Recuperate by walking back to the start.

After you're used to them you can either choose to do a slow jog back to the start OR just wait ten to fifteen seconds before taking off again. This last method is what most professional runners use.

You could do it like this:
- run 5 laps (2km)
- 5 x 100mt strides on the straightway, 100mt walking on the curve (1km)
- run 5 laps (2km)

The next step would be to do those strides uphill...

This is a good strides link:

nancytoby said...

Ahh, good link! Thank you!!!

Vickie said...

A fun little exercise we used to do in our training group was to do a warmup and then do 20/40s. Run fast 40 seconds, jog EASY 20 seconds. Then start again. You can do as many as you want, and with this type of pickup workout, it really isn't hard to do 15 or more. After that, we started the real workout! :) I always liked doing these. You do have to look at your watch, and occasionally go over on either set, but it makes the time pass quickly. You can do this for time or distance. The choice is yours. It is something that helps you learn to pace and builds speed eventually.