25 February 2010


Today's workout can be described in two words: Speed Workout. Those are not two very popular words in my running vocabulary. Actually, quite the opposite is true. These terms are about as unpopular as the words "hill" and "workout" used in conjunction with each other. I like slow long runs and would prefer "junk miles" over a speed workout any day of the week. However, I have learned that adding proper speed and hill workouts to my training schedule really has a positive impact on my training progress.
I started integrating the so-called "Yasso 800s" into my workouts after reading about the book "My life on the Run". This workout is named after the book's author Bart Yasso, who, aside from being a passionate runner, also happens to be the Chief Running Officer (CRO) at Runners World magazine. As him about his job title, if you ever have the pleasure of meeting him at a running event. He visits, speaks atand participates in a different race event just about every weekend of the year and all over the United States. I was lucky enough tomeet him briefly at an event the night before last year's Rocket City Marathon in Huntsville, AL. After looking at his running journals and comparing his findings against other runnners' journals, Bart recognized a pattern. Altough there was no scientific approach involved in his method other than simple mathematical additions and divisions, it did prove to be true in most instances. He found that 800 meter speed workouts would allow a runner to predict his/her marathon finishing times. If that sounds to good to betrue,go find out by yourself by reading his book and hitting the track after. You'll have to follow a certain regimen to be able to predict your finishing time, but I can tell you that it works. My weekly training schedules now alternate a hill workout one week and a speed workout on the track during alternating weeks.
After work, Rich came over to my house where we took off on our training run. Rich is leaving for his Atacama Desert 150 mile endurance race in Chile next week and he is getting nervous. We ran 1.5 miles to an old local track at Westlawn Middle School and started out speed workout. We would run 5 800 meter sprints followed by 400 meter recovery jogs after each sprint. The first sprint was fairly easy and I reached my target heart rate about 400 meters into the sprint. During the second sprint, my heart rate reached its target rate after just 200 meters. I was able to keep it consistent through the sprint by slowing down as needed. After the second sprint my heart rate started maxing out 400 meters into each sprint and it continued to do so or the remaining sprints. Needless to say, Rich and I were both pooped after the workout. But these are the types of workouts that make you feel like you really worked towards improving your speed and endurance. By the time Rich and I finished the workout it was dark. Luckily, the streets adjacent to the track kept the track lit just enough. We had logged 5.75 miles during this speed workout. Next week, it will be hills followed by Yasso 800s the following week.

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