August 31, 2012

Introducing Speed

Until recently, I've been content with the speed at which I run. It's always been slow but it didn't bother me because I was happy just to be able to run. I've been running with Lee Saxby's running technique for a little over a year now and think I'm ready to introduce speed to my running. In Lee's method, speed taxes your running skill; so to run faster, you have to have good skill. I'm hoping that my skill is equal to the task.

I've done three speed interval running workouts in the last few weeks and I've learned quite a bit about my current running skill level: I can use more skill. I know this will always be the case because there's always some aspect of running form that I can improve on.

My speed interval workouts include a 10-minute warm-up at an easy pace (I have a pace min/km display on my Garmin FR60 for easy reference). My easy pace is about 6:00 min/km. I've been doing 4 or 5 faster pace intervals for about 100 metres or so. My faster pace is about 4:00 min/km. After my speed interval, I'll walk until my heart rate goes back down to 150 BPM then return to running my easy pace for a minute or two, then repeat a speed interval. Then I run home at my easy pace.

Here's an image from my Garmin data of my first speed interval workout:

Here are some observations I've made about running speed intervals (based on how I feel and a video I took of my last speed workout):
  • I need to focus on my landing more because I tend to land more on the lateral side of my foot when running faster
  • Running fast with the metronome at 180 BPM feels much less taxing on my cardio than running fast without the metronome
  • My posture still feels good at either speed
  • I could focus more on hamstrings than hip flexors when running faster
  • I don't overstride any more when running at speed than running easy (thankfully)
  • Running easy tends to be at a faster pace the next time I run after a speed workout
  • My cardio could use improvement (not a big surprise)
  • Running fast is FUN! (also not a big surprise :) )
For future runs, I want to keep my speed intervals at 4 or 5 and try running fast for a longer distance for the next few times.

If you do speed workouts, how do you incorporate them into your running?