More haste, less speed…


Today marked my second speed session in my Edinburgh Marathon training plan.

Did it hurt? Yes.

Did I enjoy it? Er….no.

Do I want to do it again? Ask me after my interval session on Thursday…oh wait, I’m washing my hair that day. Damn it!

Here’s some numbers for you stat types:

1 x 10 min warm-up, 1.9KM
1 x Constant Speed Rep One, 10 minutes (10:17, 2.6KM, 3:51/km)
1 x Warm Down Back to Start, 2.6KM
1 x Constant Speed Rep Two, 10 minutes (10:31, 2.6KM, 4.01/km)
Warm Down on Way Home, 2.6KM

After the first speed rep, I kinda felt like this (ensure you adopt Forrest’s voice before reading):


Isn’t it funny that Forrest looks like a lot of American Ultra runners? I must add however that I think Anton Krupicka is pretty awesome:


Now most non-runners think that we are probably a little sadistic in our choice of sport and in some ways, they are correct. Why oh why if we are not training for a 5K or 10K race are we turning ourselves inside-out to become faster?

I’ve read conflicting evidence relating to the benefits of speed training during the lead up to a marathon and whether it’s even needed. But that said, I do occasionally enter races that are faster (such as Parkrun, 5K with a 19:10pb) and hard as hell local fell races where your heart entering your mouth is not uncommon as you slip-side over your recently exited breakfast up the first (usually bastard-steep) hill.

Thing is, I’ve never been a fast runner even though one of the first 10Ks I did was in 41:09 a couple of years back, when I first got back into running again after some absence. I just really dislike that all-over body feeling of like I’m about to fall over and die. I guess I’ve always been a bit of a wuss when it comes to incorporating speed work into my training. I mean, I’m really in training for Ultra’s, so it’s not as if I need the speed. I can walk really well, which as most of you should know, happens a lot in an ultra and is essential if you want to complete one.

I reckon though that the more I do these sessions, then the faster I will become and whenever I need to call on a surge of speed, it’ll be there. I just dread them.

Looking at all my friends stats on Strava, I get quite downhearted as some of them can maintain a 4:13/km pace over a hilly 30KM. With further training, sure, I could go faster over that distance, perhaps a 4:40/km but I want to enjoy the run and not need a drip at the end of it.
I suppose it’s all relative as the pace they run at may be ‘easy’ for them and they’ve probably been running a lot longer than I have.

Really I should give myself a break. I’m about to turn 40 and have only been back into running for almost two years after having quite serious back issues (not the magazine type of back-issue). Also, at the moment having recently visited the doctor, I am suffering with non-anaemic iron deficiency which will no doubt be impacting my performance. Consequently, I’m now on 630mg of the ferrous stuff per day and after taking that I should be as hard as nails (see what I did there? I know, I’m hilarious)

I’ll no doubt be pooping these shortly; ouch!

Looking at my training plan, speed work is not there that often but does rightly include tempo sessions. I may tweak it a little bit to incorporate surge runs (where you increase pace for a few miles, then ease off) and also ensure I have a steady run prior to a long run so my legs/body carry over the fatigue to simulate the discomfort in the latter stages of a marathon and to prepare me for it mentally.

How do you guys incorporate your speed work, if at all and if so has it benefited you during a marathon? I’d love to hear.

Thanks for stopping by 🙂


One thought on “More haste, less speed…

  1. I admire people who have a passion for sports. Since school times I hated sports and in particular running. I was very skinny and felt that everyone else was stronger and faster than me. They were. Physically. So… to read your posts about running is quite interesting and almost make me want to start running… well, almost 🙂
    Well done, I admire your determination.

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