I hate Speedwork and Tempo Runs

Do I have to do them ?

1 to 20 of 39 messages
21/06/2012 at 16:42

I struggle to do them. The thing is, I want to improve on my time for a HM. Last year I came in at 2hrs36 This year I would like a sub 2.30.

Do they really improve times & endurance or anything  ?

21/06/2012 at 17:19

Hey Lil - if you're struggling you're probably trying too hard for where you're at just now. 

But yes - they do work and if you want to improve your time, sooner or later you'll have to try running a bit faster than you currently are. 

Try doing your tempo runs at a pace that feels comfortably hard (somewhere between HMP but not quite 10k) and your intervals a bit quicker again.  As you get fitter you will find yourself able to go a bit quicker at each intensity without it feeling any harder.  If this still puts you off - start by doing the sessions even slower but just do them!  If you just run at one pace all the time - guess what pace you're training to run at? It's fine to do that BTW but don't expect to get quicker any time soon.

Don't give up ...

seren nos    pirate
21/06/2012 at 17:46

course you don't need to do them...just get some more steady miles in........if you aren't enjoying them you will not the best results anyway............

for my marathon training last year i just ran miles and then tried to get to a park run once a week.........on that i ran faster than i normally would as it was in a race and others there..........get running some runs with others or a club to mix up the pace without realising

good luck

21/06/2012 at 17:54

You don't need to do them but it is unlikely you will improve your times much if you don't.

Don't be fooled by the term "speed" work. It doesn't mean bombing round the track like Usain Bolt. It means going a bit faster than you usually do, a bit out of your comfort zone. At the end of a tempo or interval session you should be feeling pleasantly pooped, you definitely should not be a wheezing, puking heap.

So if your "plod" pace is 10-min miling, try doing a tempo at, say, 9:30. And adjust as necessary.

21/06/2012 at 17:56

Well they work for guys/bloody freaks like me who run 1:35 for a HM as a steady/easy run. Most people would benefit from just chugging along at an easy effort for as long and often as possible. In fact, most people would go faster if they were more flexible. If you want to know how flexible, think in terms of putting the flats of your hands on the ground while standing with straight legs. That's the hamstrings sorted then.

21/06/2012 at 18:22

Thanks everyone. I will carry on. I Can do it. Will just slow the Tempo/speed runs down a fraction for the next couple of weeks and build up. You have helped. x

Not entirely sure what your saying RicF. Well done on the 1:35 though ??

Muttley - I have been fooled by the term 'speedwork'. Came home today and felt crappy. My race pace to get a sub 2.30 HM is 11.20 and the schedule said 9.38 for 1600 x 2 with 800 recoveries.Total = 5 miles. I was Pooped....

21/06/2012 at 20:21
6 mins off a half marathon is 30secs a mile faster. You should be using training paces based on your current 2:36 NOT 2:30! That's assuming you're still capable of 2:36.



Personally I did only long slow runs for a year. 2x10miles and a 13mile a week. You will see your times plummet.



Run your LSR at 1m-1m30s slower than your current race pace.
Edited: 21/06/2012 at 20:22
22/06/2012 at 06:54
Yeah but you did it, Lil! And I bet you feel well proud if yourself too. Next time it will feel a bit easier. And if nothing else it makes the easy runs feel easier.

Tim - not sure I agree with you. Slower runners mostly train close to race pace as 12-13 mm are not really going to be comfortable or helpful. Just do the LSRs at a nice conversational speed and don't worry about pace.
22/06/2012 at 08:09
McFlooze wrote (see)
Yeah but you did it, Lil! And I bet you feel well proud if yourself too. Next time it will feel a bit easier. And if nothing else it makes the easy runs feel easier.

Tim - not sure I agree with you. Slower runners mostly train close to race pace as 12-13 mm are not really going to be comfortable or helpful. Just do the LSRs at a nice conversational speed and don't worry about pace.

Agreed. 2:36 is already close to 12mm. 13:30 min miling would be daft.

22/06/2012 at 08:46
Yes. If that 2:36 was from a sustained 13 mile effort with no walking towards the end.
22/06/2012 at 10:37

TIM - Effort all the way..No walking..Slower by mile 11-13 but no walking..

McFlooze - I do feel good, yes you're right. Thank you. I do hope the runs get to feel easier each week by doing the speedwork/tempo runs.

                             *Heres to getting that sub 2:30 PB *

   Everyone has given such great / supportive & helpful advice ~ Thank You.

22/06/2012 at 10:59

Hi Lil

I would testify to the tempo/interval sessions improving pace. The key for you is to get the right intensity. There is no problem doing an interval session and feeling a bit tired afterwards - they are hard sessions after all.

But if you are so tired that it affects your next run, i.e. you are not recovering in time, then it is a clear sign that the intensity of the session needs to be backed off - i.e. run slower. Go more with how you are feeling, and less on the hard numbers that a plan will recommend.

Good luck with finding the right balance

22/06/2012 at 12:54

A lot of people are saying it but the problem may have been that you are trying to run them to fast - the idea of an interval session is to do a session where you are running faster than normal for a set distance or time, recovering and then doing it again. If you are unable to finish the session invariably it is because you are running to fast to recover between intervals - 

Rest assured loads of people dread the idea of speedwork, me icluded, but you feel really good when you have finished.

22/06/2012 at 13:49

It's possible to improve speed by not doing speedwork - I've spent the last 8 months or so essentially logging miles and keeping speedwork to a minimum.  I run at about 70% of working heart-rate for most of my sessions and at that heart-rate I've improved my speed by several minutes per mile.  I've built a better aeribobic base, set PB's at everythign from 5K to marathon and I've not had the niggles  that I associate with speedwork.  We're all different and if you struggle with speedwork there's no harm in not doing it.  I'm a similar pace to you Lil (HM PB is 2:18)  so while I'm sure speedwork will help, there are other ways to improve.  Some people just don't want to go to a track and knock out 10x400m at 5K pace or whatever.  For me, running is meant to be fun and I'd rather do a 10-mile trail run than go to a track and do speedy stuff.  

seren nos    pirate
22/06/2012 at 15:18

I won't do intervals etc as it is more likeley for me to get injured from them and my body is too messed up without the extra strain............i did knock off loads form my time last year just putting in more miles and running the 5k park run twice a month...........My OH also does no speed work as has taken his marathon time to 3:18 depite being the wrong side of 50.......

so whilst speed work definitely works for some...........it is not the only way to improve...........and to me the important thing is to enjoy your running and to stay injury free.........

if you enjoy them or feel they benefit and you can avoid injury then they are brilliant

23/06/2012 at 17:44
A good way of doing speed training is in the pool. I discovered this whilst training for my marathon and being forced into deep water running. I did threshold training in the pool to keep my mind focused, keep interested and vary it up a bit. Once I was back to running on land, I was all speedy. And now I prefer it to doing threshold training on land - maybe give it a go? It works, and is not as stressful on your body as doing it on land.
23/06/2012 at 19:39

That sounds fun. I'll look into that, hope my local pool does it. Thanks.

23/06/2012 at 20:40

Lil, what noone has asked, is how much running do you do a week?

If you're doing too little mileage, I wouldn't even bother with tempos and speedwork until you have that base sorted out.

I'd be surprised if you couldn't massively improve that half time, by simply adding easy mileage at this stage...

23/06/2012 at 20:48

StevieG's addressed the elephant in the room at long last.

I ran a 3:04 marathon having run nothing faster than tempo pace in training, but I was running 50mpw.  I'm not suggesting 50mpw as a target, but I didn't even think about doing speedwork until I wanted to get my shorter race times down. 

So how much mileage are you doing at the moment?

23/06/2012 at 22:40
Indeed. I thought I said that on Thursday?
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