A Need for Speed

I have to be honest and admit that doing speed work usually falls by the wayside when I am marathon training. The primary reason for that is that I train all winter for a spring race and so the track is covered in snow! Plus, I put the focus on my long runs and overall mileage.

If I am forced inside by weather, I will do speed work on the treadmill but it just doesn't feel the same to me. On the track (or the straight, flat stretches of the greenbelt) I run by feel and so I can better evaluate my fitness. I usually surprise myself by going faster than I expected. On the treadmill, I feel like I limit myself by thinking I can only handle certain speeds.

After 2 nasty rainstorms, all of our snow is gone. So when I was driving back from the gym this morning and saw the clear track, I figured it was a great chance to get some speed work.

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Other than being very under-dressed for the cold, it was great! I did a ladder session 1200, 800, 400, 200, 100. I thought I'd start with a 9 minute/mile pace for the 1200 and try and speed up from there. Instead, I did a 7:45 pace for the 1200 and worked my way down to a 5:15 pace for the 100! And it all felt easy!

It reminded me that speed work can be fun. It's a nice break from all the long, slow miles. And it is a terrific confidence booster. I am really going to make an effort to work 1 speed session a week into my training (as long as the track stays clear!)

 Do you do dedicated "speed" sessions? Do notice a difference between treadmill running and track sessions? What is your favorite speed session?


  1. Yay! Down ladders are the best! Nice work!!!

    I am not dedicated to speed, but will work some in to my routine soon, as I'm trying for a 5K PR in March :)


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