I got out for a run on the first day of the New Year but not until after watching the first showing of the Rose Parade, and then spending most of the rest of the day putting away all traces of Christmas. All the decorations are packed up, the tree is out at the curb, all the outside lights are down and the whole kit and kaboodle is packed back up into the boxes and stored away in the garage.
The first run for the New Year was speed work. The last speed work I did was in preparation for Eugene, nearly a year ago. The reasons for no speed are two fold - my dislike of the track and fear of further or complete injuring to the less than 100% left hip. I joined the gym with my son in part to force myself to run less and to give the hip a break. (Working on the core and upper body strength won't hurt either.)
With a reduction in the quantity of running I felt I needed to up the quality of running. That led me to the FIRST program. I'd first read about it in Runner's World. The drawback of the program for me is the absolute need to do speed work once a week. I haven't bought the book, but compared notes on RW version and versions on the Furman Institute website. Each plan follows the same format of speed work, tempo run and long runs; differing only in the actual amount of each element.
Having returned to speed work after 9 months and with the bum hip I opted for a compromise between the first time program on the web and the RW one. An element I really like is that with speed the program mixes it up a little. One of the rules is: Put more variety in your speed work. To ease into it I did speed that didn't require a track; 5 x (2 min. fast/2 min. easy) plus the warm up and cool down.
The 2 minute fast sections were hard. I was out of breath before the end but hung on. I resorted to walking my 2 minute easy just to catch my breath. By the third one I was able to jog the last minute of the easy section before taking off again. I'll tackle the track next Tuesday.
The program looks good on paper, executing it will be a challenge.