Well it didn’t take terribly long to achieve the first goal for 2016. In fact, I was able to do it a few days before the year started.
To recap, my first big goal for 2016 is run a sub-40 minute 10k. (I say “first big goal” because I’ve got some other goals in mind for the coming year).
The sub goal was to run sub-4 minutes for 1k. A week ago it was looking very difficult because I couldn’t seem to get under 4:30 without experiencing tightness in the hammies.
All that changed yesterday and I was able to smash out a sub-4 minute k towards the end of an 12.5k run. The fact that the fast kilometre took place in the 10th kilometre of the run is probably indicative of how long it is taking for my muscles to warm up.
It wasn’t terribly long ago that running 4 minutes per kilometre was a breeze. But age is catching up on my muscles and my regular runs are slowing down to just over 5 minutes per km.
That’s fair enough for a regular training run but I still think I should be capable of smashing out a faster pace when going out for a high intensity training run.
From here the plan is to incorporate a speed session into each week.
My favourite speed sessions are intervals sessions. In the past the majority of my intervals sessions have been 8 x 400m. The thinking is, though, for 2016 the intervals sessions might have to be adjusted to be 800m efforts.
The thinking is twofold.
First, running longer efforts means that my pace is going to have to be slower and this places less stress on dodgy hamstrings.
Second, longer efforts will help build the stamina required to achieve a 10k pace of under 4 minutes per km.
My real problem when it comes to adding a speed session each week is fitting it in with all the other runs I have planned. Because I run with a core group most days, I either have to plan to run by myself or convince others in the group to incorporate a speed session in to their program.
Neither should be a real problem, it just takes a little co-ordination.
But I also like to do another type of speed session and that is a hills session. As they always point out, a hills session is actually a speed session in disguise.
It’s easier on the legs because you’re not pounding the road quite as dramatically but you’re still putting in a significant effort.
When I do a hills session I run out to my favourite climb which is a jog of around 3km – a good warm up.
The efforts part comprises a climb of around 250m which I do as quickly as I can while still trying to maintain some measure of good form. I then turn around and slowly jog down as a recovery. Then I repeat the climb.
A good session will comprise of 6 – 8 climbs with recoveries. Including the jog out and the jog home the whole session works out to be 9 – 10km.
Once A Week Speed Session
So that’s the plan to leverage off of the fitness that I have been building up through running every day.
I’ve now been running every day for 31 days in a row and I can definitely feel my fitness improving.
Adding a speed session once a week to the running schedule should not only increase my strength and stamina but should also add a bit of interest to the program.