Tuesday, January 01, 2008

Return to Speed Work

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.

12 comments:

Runner Susan said...

Happy New Year!

DREW said...

It's interesting how specific "programs" seem to catch on. It seemed that everyone was doing Hal Higdon's plans "back in the day." The FIRST program seems like a worthy progression for those that want to get improved times. I know Danny has had great success with it and I'm planning to give it a shot starting next week.

And yes, it looks a bit intimidating!

Wes said...

Three day a week plans are right up my alley :-) Next year, when I try to improve all of my short distance races, I'll probably use FIRST too. Glad you get to guinea pig it for me :-)

Neese said...

it won't be easy. will we have it any other way? :)

David said...

I know several folks who have used the plan. The one criticism that I have hear about it is that there are not any easy runs. With only three runs a week, they are very focused runs.

Joe said...

One of the cool things about running is learning about plans. So, yes, I'll be very interested to see how this goes for you Darrell. I looked at the FIRST site, having never heard of it. Fascinating concept. Sure hope it helps your hip clear up while letting you run well.

A guy in our running club does consistnt 3:15-3:30 marathons and only trains three days a week. But he maintains the quality of those three runs are key.

And I love the word "kaboodle"...great stuff!!

Sarah said...

Good luck with your new plan!

Lana said...

I used the FIRST last year when preparing for the Las Vegas Marathon...as of now, it is my PR - 4:08. It's a good plan, especially if you like to cross train.

Annette said...

Ugh! Speedwork. I need to do the same once my half is completed. Why do I hate it so much? Good luck and make sure you listen to your body. No further injury to the hip!

robtherunner said...

I used to enjoy doing speedwork on the treadmill and going by minutes rather than distance. I found the speed made the treadmill a little more tolerable and you could do it without all the turns on the track. I wish you all the best in 2008.

Bex said...

I love/hate speedwork too. Nice job for the first time out in months!

Backofpack said...

I'm not a fan of speedwork. I don't know if it's the track or my innate clumsiness that makes me dislike it. I think it's great for everyone else though!

Have a great New Year Darrell!