After last week’s rest and recovery, I’m starting to feel a lot better. The main difference is that I’m thinking more about nutrition, not in some crazy obsessive food fascist kind of way, just in terms of making sure that I’m getting enough calories so that I don’t feel like I’ve been hit by a bus after every run.
This was particularly important for this evening’s run as I was scheduled to do a 30 minute speed session. I love these sessions because as well as allowing myself to run faster (which is so much more fun than running slowly), I’m not too strict about the specifics of the workout. Sometimes I might try a structured tempo run or a few sets of 400 metre sprints, and other times I might just have some fun with fartleks. But however I decide to do them, these sessions are all about pushing myself harder and teaching my body to run faster.
Tonight though, I wasn’t really sure about what I was going to do, so I decided just to run and see what happened. I started off nice and slowly for the first kilometre and tried to get negative splits for the next two. I was feeling pretty good and each kilometre was about eight seconds faster than the last, which isn’t difficult when you’re starting off so slowly. So, when I turned to head back to my starting point at the 3K mark, I figured that it was time test my pace and give it a bit of a kick for another kilometre or two.
As I have mentioned in many previous posts, my main goal for the 5K is to achieve a sub-30 time. This means being able to run faster than 6:00 minutes per kilometre. So, with two kilometres to go and just under 20 minutes into my workout, I decided to try get myself to a 6:00 pace and see how long I could hold it for.
As it was fairly dark along the seafront, I couldn’t keep a very close eye on my Garmin without using the light, so once I knew that I was at the right pace, I tried to focus on my breathing to make sure that I didn’t slip back. The breathing itself was pretty heavy by this point and must have been really off putting to anyone that could hear it, but for me it was like a tribal drum urging me on as I fell into an almost trance like state and let my legs move in time.
At 4K, however, my Garmin beeped and brought me back to reality and the fact that I was starting to feel tired. But I didn’t want to stop. So I kept going and tried to relax back into the breathing again.
Even though when I glanced at the Garmin it said that I was going faster, I could feel myself getting more and more tired as my breathing became even harder. I needed to slow down, so I let myself back off just a little bit to get me to the 5k mark.
I knew that I had run faster in those last two kilometres than I had ever managed before, so I was really pleased to see that I’d achieved a new PB of 31:32, beating my old PB by almost 30 seconds! But the best part was that when I got home and uploaded the data, I realised that I had not only managed to achieve negative splits, but that the last two kilometres were well under 6:00.
I don’t know if it was the rest days, or the nutrition, or the last few weeks’ training starting to pay off, but whatever it was, it felt pretty damn good to know that my goal pace is starting to become more sustainable than I ever really believed it could be.
How do you use speed sessions in your training? What’s your favourite speed workout? How long does it take before you start to see the result? Please share your thoughts and ideas in the comments.