Tuesday Night Speedwork
Tuesday Night Speedwork

Tuesday Night Speedwork

First – the (obvious) good news. I did not die during my public speaking engagement this morning. Nor did I pass out or vomit on anyone. So win! And apparently I did a decent job (and would’ve done better without interrupters….).

Now – on to the Tuesday night speed work report. I need help deciding if this is a WIN or FAIL.

I spent some time yesterday blog-stalking Will Run For Wine & pulling as many of her track Tuesday workouts as I could. And then I picked the easiest looking one.

The plan:

Track Workout #1
warm-up: 2 miles (10 min/mile)
circuit w/ 400 repeats (@2:00) between
1 mile:9:00
400 recovery
4×400 @ 2:00
1 minute recovery
Cool down: 1 mile

3 x 10 pushups, 400m
3 x 10 tricep dips, 400m
2 x 10 single hamstring bridge, 400 m
30-50 crunches, 400 m
2 x 10 superman, 400 m

30 meters of skipping
10 meters of two-footed hopping
30 meters of bounding: Take a very long running stride with exaggerated knee lifts
10 to 15 jumping butt-kicks

I walked from work to the nearest track as part of a warm-up. It was pretty warm already (80s), but the walk was down-hill & shady. I started out for my 2 mile warm-up, and then remembered how much I hate running more than 1 mile on a track.

I started following the plan, but skipped the plyos, because there were a shit-ton of people on the track, and although I’ve done plyos in a group before, I didn’t feel confident to do them alone in front of eleventy-billion others.

It was hot.

The first half of the workout went like this:

Track Workout #1
warm-up: 1.7 miles (9:42 min/mile)
3 x 10 pushups, 400m
3 x 10 tricep dips, 400m
3 x 10 single hamstring bridge, 400 m
30 crunches, 400 m

All my 400s were coming in at under 8:00 pace, which is not really what I was going for.

And then I was done. Seriously. I was getting weird stomach cramps. The track was filling up. I was feeling light headed. I decided to do a cool down mile & pack it in.

I did a cool-down 400 instead – at a 9:30 pace (way to cool down, Amy).

I ended up with exactly 3 miles in 27:22 (9:07 pace)….which isn’t bad at all, really.  Then I walked 3/4 of a mile to my car (total walk = 2 miles on top of 3 mile run).

I obviously was going out too fast in my warm-up, and really need to do the track workouts on a less crowded track, possibly in the AM. There is a track in my neighborhood that I’ll check out for my next speed work – hopefully it’s empty at 6 AM.

So – I didn’t complete the workout, so that part is a fail. But, I did complete some of the workout, which is better than nothing. Also, the 1.7 mile warm-up I did at 9:42 felt slow & comfortable – so that’s good, too, right? The first time (January 2008) I did a mile time trial (which last night’s warm-up certainly was not), I was thrilled to come in at 9:46. The second (and last) time I did a time trial (March 2008), I was at 8:59.  Last night’s warm-up was 1.7 miles at 9:42, and I’ve run a 5K at at 9:07 pace. In the last 18 months, I have gone from an average comfortable run pace of 11-12 minute miles to 10ish minute miles, and two years ago, I was excited when I was hitting 11-12 minute miles in races! I know I’m never going to be as fast as your Emilys or Jens of the world, and I really don’t care. I’m just excited that since taking up running about three years ago, I have gone from not being able to run three miles in a row & finishing a 5K in over 40 minutes to busting out three miles in under 28.

I’m also kinda wanting to do another 5K this fall to see if I can get in under 9 minute miles for the whole race. Hmmmm…..I think maybe I’ll have to look for one!

And, in addition to my question about the workout being a WIN or a FAIL, another question. Would it be unreasonable to do a 6.5 mile race two weeks before my marathon? 6.5 miles that I would have to commit to being under 10 minute miles, so no half-assed racing. Thoughts? Advice? A stern talking-to? Also, how soon after running a marathon could I have a goal race 5K? So many questions – so many wise friends!


  1. Alisa

    Okay…so NOT a fail!

    1) This workout is hard when it’s not warm out and while you are becoming quite the speedster I think you may have learned a valuable lesson to not go out too hard. My first mile of track warmup I still do really slow just to warm up. The 400s in between the circuits I wasn’t really pacing or looking at my watch pushing but not too hard.

    2) Did you see your 3 mi total split—9:07 pace that’s freakin’ awesome! Faster than your 5k PR!

    As for the other Q’s. I personally would not race 2 weeks before a marathon but that’s just me, plenty of people do it and some training plans suggest it.

    5k post marathon. Well, speaking from my experience, I needed some time OFF from running post marathon. I’d say give yourself at least one full week no running. Then, since you’d be transitioning from long slow miles to speedwork miles I’d say give another 2 weeks to train on speed. You will clearly have a great physical base for running and mega endurance! So three weeks minimum is my advice.

    BUT this is just a lowly non-expert, slow, back of the packer talking.

  2. trackwork is like pizza, even when it’s bad, it’s good. not that yours was even close to bad! just that you didn’t do what you thought you were going to, but that doesn’t matter. it was still a good workout–win!

    race 2 weeks before? hmm, i guess that depends whether you would go all out and try to PR or just for fun. i probably wouldn’t so close to the marathon…

  3. Dude you were smokin. Nice job. Those circuits are not easy and especially because you did more sets than I usually do. Work it out bitch!

    I’ve only done one marathon so I don’t really think you want to weigh very heavily on my advice, but I think doing a 6 mile race two weeks before is a brilliant idea. But maybe add a couple miles after or before to keep your mileage up. I don’t know. That’s probably what I’d do. Also, I took a whole month off before I started really running again. I’m not sure what the ‘rules’ are, but I would think at least two weeks.

    p.s. sorry I didn’t get your last post about the public speaking or else you would have heard these words of encouragement. “Are you kidding? Have you ever heard a doctor speak? BORING. Your going to do way better than any of those PhD’s could ever do in front of a crowd.” Glad it went well. I knew it would.

  4. Emily

    Workout win, hands down.

    Stop on the speed kudos. Honestly, I think you’ll keep getting faster. I was really surprised that I’ve been getting faster in my old age. I actually ran faster this year than I did in high school. WTF? I’m going to test the theory that consistency is the key and try to keep my current running streak alive for at least a few years. You might be surprised what happens if you keep going and your track workouts and speedwork right now is probably doing you wonders. Seriously, I am so impressed!

    As for the race I’d probably say yes to it too. I’m currently putting together my marathon training plan and part of the training are a couple of 8k to 15k races thrown in a few weeks before the marathon. I’d say plan for it but if your body is feeling especially dead at that point in your training maybe bail? Shoot for the stars fgs!!

    However, anything I say right now is moot because I’m sitting on a deck with a glass of wine staring at Lake Tahoe. BEYOTCH!!

    1. I’ve been noticing that the women who are winning the races I run are often in their mid 30s, so we’re just starting to peak, right? I, too, am aiming for consistent training now – I want to stay strong & to continue to get faster for a while!

      I hope you’re having fun in Tahoe. 😛

  5. I would have to call that workout a win. that’s incredibly complex from the start, and making it as far through it as you did is really cool.

    you can totally do a 6 mile race 2 weeks before a marathon. i ran an oly tri (which does contain a 10k run leg) 6 days before a marathon. 2 weeks… you will be fine.

    I would not put a 5k race less than 3 weeks after the marathon. i felt ok after about a week, got back into a regular running schedule 2 weeks after, but would not want to race again for at least 3 or 4 weeks. you might recover faster than i did, but that’s how i felt.

    1. Thanks for validating my feeling that I can race 2 weeks pre-marathon. I thought it would be okay, but didn’t want to screw anything up.

      As I told Tara below, I’d rather plan for a longer recovery & be pleasantly surprised than the other way around! I’m thinking I’ll wait to sign up for a 5K until after I see how I’m recovering.

  6. Tara

    look at you! hardcore track workout!!!!! As for the races I would say you’re totally okay to do a 6.5 mile race before the marathon… after that you’re tapering and will be resting up for the big day. As for the 5K PR post marathon I’d say you’d be looking at a good 3-4 weeks post marathon to try it…this is just speaking from personal experience…I tend to recover slowly, so you might be ready to race a 5K sooner than I would 🙂

  7. wow that is one intense looking workout. it makes me so tired just reading it!!! awesome girl!

    i have only run 5ks during marathon training so i dont have a good answer to your question.

  8. Any workout is a WIN my friend.

    I think a 6 miler race 2 weeks before marathon is fine – and fun. Go for it. You’ll be tapering, but 6 won’t be nuthin’ by that time.

    Now for afterwards… that’s totally up to you. It might help you stay motiviated to run. And it’s only a 5k. I usually want nothing to do with running for a while after marathons and I turn into a lazy slob until I realize I have a half in Feb and should probably start running again.

    1. I know I’ll need a break, but I really want to get pretty close to 1,000 miles this year, so can’t take too long off if I want to hit that goal….but since I’ve never run 26, I have no idea how I’ll feel after. Maybe I won’t sign up for one until after my first post-marathon run 🙂

  9. Good luck on your swim tomroow. I know your going to do fine. Just stay relaxed. Don’t pshyce (sp?) yourself out. Can’t wait to hear about ti.

    I am soooooo excited you want to do xterra next year. You’ll love it. I am going to ride my mtb all winter to get better at the technical aspects. We should plan a ride together. I know your area probably has lots of cool spots. Plus, it will be nice to have someone to pre-ride the course with. I know it’s a long ways away, but I’m super stoked.

    1. we do have some great trails right across the river from me – and the architect is an avid mt biker, so I’m planning on doing a lot more biking w/ him. I used to do a lot more when I lived in LA, and really want to get back into it.

      I’ve run on the Xterra Hagg Lake course, and it’s technical, but not as wickedly hilly as it could be (if I remember correctly – I’ll definitely have to check it out again & report back).

      We should definitely do a couple of exercise hookups! 🙂 I’ve never been to your neck of the woods, and have been pestering the hubs to plan a camping trip up there – maybe we could meet up for a run or ride!

      It’s fun to plan stuff a year in advance, right? 🙂

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