Thursday, September 18, 2014


Throughout my running career, midweek, usually Wednesday, has been the time to get fast. If it's midweek, it's time to do a speed workout.

We all like to get out there and log our easy miles on the road, but speedwork provides us with both the physical and psychological edge necessary to produce fast race times, from the 5K to the marathon.

Most of you know what speedwork is all about, so today I'm going offer you some concrete examples from yesterday's nimble Wednesday that you can apply to your own training.

The morning began with my wife's first speed workout. She began her running career two years ago, and has run several 5K and 5-Mile races. She plans to run her first half marathon, at Philadelphia, in November.

Yesterday's workout was 3x800 meters (half mile), with a 3-4 minute jog interval in between. Her goal time was 4:45 for each, as she hopes to maintain a 10-minute per mile pace for the half marathon. She destroyed her objective, turning in times of 4:08, 4:18, and 4:12.

 A smashing success!

Next, I met Father Chris Zelonis. He and I planned a 3x1600 meter (mile) workout at our local track. The jog interval was 800 meters. Father Chris has run a 3:20 marathon and is aiming to crack 3:10 at the Philadelphia Marathon in November. He hovered around the 6:00 mark during his interval workout, breaking the 6:00 barrier on his last mile, clocking a 5:54. He is well on his way toward a 3-hour marathon. I joined him, logging miles in the 7:20s. A far cry from the glory days, but my fastest speed workout since tearing my hamstring tendons in May of 2013.

Finally, I gathered my college cross country team at Penn State Schuylkill. They too did a 3x1600 meter workout, many of them earning their fastest times to date.

So, it was a day of fast workouts, which, down the road will produce fast race times.

Speed workouts are difficult and thankless. They inflict aches and pains upon muscles and joints.

They are, however, the keys to race success.