Speed? What's that?

I have a trail 10k planned 8 weeks from now, though I will see how I get on first before I really enter. I'm doing a 5k later that month anyway (Race for Life in Dundee).
I'm basing my training on the '3 times a week for 8 weeks' RW schedule, adding other activities on the other days (cycling, indoor climbing, exercise classes, hillwalking, and rest)

So this morning I did my first speedwork run. I used times instead of distance (easier in the forest), so I planned 4x 80 seconds fast with 3 minutes recovery, running the same stretch back and forth so I could compare runs.
The first one I set off in a nice controlled speed. After 20 seconds I knew it was to fast so I slowed down. Another 20 seconds later and I was struggling to keep moving. After that I set of in a lot slower pace for the other 3 repeats and covered about the same distance at a more even speed.

However, that speed was hardly faster than when I run 10 minute intervals. It's not that I got out of breath, it's more that my legs refused to move and felt like lead. I didn't need the full 3 minutes recovery, even with the slowest jog I was back at my starting point and feeling recovered in 2:30.
Also, afterwards I didn't feel particularly knackered.

Maybe my legs were still tired from the circuit training exercise class on Monday evening. I also realised that most of the exercise I have done in the past years has been endurance. I suppose it will get better if I just keep doing it...


  • Roos, if it's the first speedwork you have ever done, try doing shorter sprints. You say that you are recovering quickly, so how about starting with 25-30 second sprints, and 1 - 1.5 minute recoveries? As you find the sprints easier you can add on more seconds. Running fast for 80 seconds is a long way if you have just started on speedwork.
    I start my beginners running class on week 4 with about 20 metres (distance between 2 lampposts) to sprint then jog to the next lamp post and walk to the next one.
  • That's interesting - because I had just decided that my 80 seconds was by no means the 400 m the schedule asked for. In the scheme they mention about 70-80 seconds, but if I look at for example the MacMillan training speed calculator I should be doing something like 2 minutes.

    I have done speedwork before, but that was ages ago and more in a rowing boat than while running.

    I'll give the shorter distances a try, see how that feels.

  • I've never done speedwork before and have just printed off the 8 week schedule. I have always plodded along just adding mileage - yesterday did 4.5 miles in 45 mins - but I'm now prepared to give this speedwork a go in prep for the 10k in Cardiff in Sept. Is it ok to do this speedwork on the road as I run country roads or should I find a park or a track or something?
  • Hi Roos,
    I followed the same training plan for a 10k I did a few months back, and also found the speedwork really hard. I ended up doing all of mine on the treadmill - it's easier to monitor either speed or distance and I found myself less likely to wuss out of the fast bits, as it's mentally harder to push the 'slow down' button than it is just to run a bit slower on the track! Not sure if this is as good as non-treadmill in terms of road speed - I found it easier to go faster on the tready - but I was definitely more motivated in terms of keeping my heart rate up, pushing myself to complete the full intervals, etc.
    Also, it's important to use the full recovery even if you feel okay sooner, by the time you're at interval no.10 you'll regret cutting down the jog bits!
    Good luck!
  • Just an update - I posted the original mesage about 3 months ago!
    Shortly after I posted it I started orienteering and I have used that as some sort of speedwork for a couple of months - it involves a lot of short bursts of speed and struggling up steep slopes and things like that. And I think it worked, I did an 'undulating' 10k in early June in just over 55 min.

    Since then I have done some more speedwork, but rather over longer distances - something like 5 min fastish with a couple of min rest. I think the main problem was pacing and stride - I started off too fast with too big steps. I later found that when I made smaller steps but at a higher rate it worked better in the long run. I now only use the big powerful steps for my end sprint in a race :)
  • I am planning to do a 10k this summer, which is surely about 6 miles, so why am I running 9 miles in week 7? Is it a misprint? Should it be 9K? I am muchly confused!
  • Hi Catherine,
    I am running my first 10k in May - I did a 10 mile last year and found it really hard. I want to be better prepared for the 10k so I plan to start following the 8 week schedule next Monday.

    I imagine that the reason the schedule calls for 9 miles on week 7 is so that 6 miles will be a doddle after that!

  • Hi guys,
    i'm fairly new to running, I started last year for about 3 months and loved it, but came to a standstill in the winter ( apart from some half hearted runs on the treadmill) I've been back at it 4 a month now and really enjoying it. I'm doing the 5 k race for life in b'ham in july. Yesterday on my run i did 4 miles ( furthest i've run yet), one of my work friends who also runs thinks i should consider training for a 10 k run, maybe the great north run, do u think this is acheiveable for a new runner ? and r there many beginers that enter ? love kate
  • Kate, the GNR is a half mara not a 10k! General perception on here is that it's not a good one to enter due to cost, crowds and accomodation costs. But it's up to you. BTW, the ballot for this year is closed now and you'd need to look for a charity place to do it anyway.

    If you want a 10k then have a look at the events tab at the top and you'll find one near to you. Could I also suggest the Cancer Research 10k Autumn series? You'll need to register your interest with Cancer Ressearch UK and they'll contact you in the near future. Their 10k runs are set at various stately homes etc through the country and whilst well run aren't as competetive as some others. The times aren't "official" but the day is fantastic fun. You'll need to raise some sponsorship money but that's not too hard, I raised over £300 for the evebt at Fountains Abbey last weekend without trying too hard, just set up a just giving account and mentioned it on a few websites that I frequent.

    Good luck.
  • Gulp...

    You all sound an awful lot fitter than me ! I've only just started running after a back injury laid me up for a couple of years. To celebrate the burning of the stick I've entered for a 10K race in October and would dearly love some advice. I am steadily building up strength and at the moment am able to do 2.8 miles, 1 min walking / 1 min GENTLE running, 3 times a week, with a swim at weekends. Any suggestions would be very welcome as to what schedule would be best to follow, I'm very determined but not ready for speed trials just yet !

  • is it very important to include a speed session in a running plan?

    what is the benefit in terms of ensuring that you get to the end in one piece?
  • DazTheSlugDazTheSlug ✭✭✭
    Lorraine - if you just want to get round in one piece, then no, you don't need to be doing any speed sessions.

    What they are good for is building up your "base" speed - I always thought that I could do this by just gradually forcing myself to go a bit faster over my regular training runs, but most people find that speed sessions are a quicker/better way of achieving this aim.
  • cheers Daz
  • Hi all,
    I have recently started running as I did the 5K Race for Life in Watford at the beginning of July. I only did about 3 training sessions before hand as I have a congenital spine problem and haven't been able to exercise without pain. Anyway, it was the hottest day of the year but I managed to do it in 38 mins, phew! Since then I have had spinal injections, brought a new pair of running trainers and hit the road and have run 3-4 times a week since. I go running/jogging before work so time is not on my side but I have run 5.5 miles so far as my furthest in 57 mins. Please advise me what to do if I want to attempt a half marathon next year?
  • BatmouseBatmouse ✭✭✭
    Hi joanne

    Get yourself a good beginners sched. There are some on this site. Take it easy and enjoy. Welcome to the wonderful world of running
  • Thank you Batmouse!
  • I've just started running and like many others have just completed my first Race for Life in 32 mins. I know that is pretty slow but I'd like to try a 10k next. I seem to have an aversion to hills though, any suggestions for finding a flat one somewhere in Scotland?!?!
  • Like many others, I decided to take up running as a new years resolution. I've started ok but have been searching for a programme to take me up to a 10km run in June. (Lots of time, I hope!)

     I came across this 8 week programme, training three times a week which looks do-able. I have a question though - and it's probably a really dumb question, so I apologise in advance!

    What does the 'M' stand for? eg. "2M easy" or "2-2.5M easy"....Does it mean miles? (I got confused because the other distances are in metres, and it's for a 10km race) and I did think it could mean minutes, but then there is reference to 'mins' and it doesn't seem nearly hard enough either!

  • WombleWomble ✭✭✭

    M means miles
    Mins means minutes
    m means metres
    km or k means kilometre(s)

  • thank you! I'd better get on with it then now!
  • If you're looking for a good 10k in June, the Datchet Dashers are holding their Dorney Dash 10k at Dorney lake, near Windsor - it's FLAT and FAST  image

    Runners World link: www.runnersworld.co.uk/dorneydash

  • I have just completed the BUPA  10k gt capital run today which was in Hyde Park, London. It's my 4th race since last sept, and I am really enjoying them, but today was a struggle. I managed to shave half a min or so off my previous run, and did it in 63 mins 57 secs to be precise!! I am now looking at the 10k 8 wk plan as I have another one in october to do. I wanted to make it a more enjoyable experience next time. Any top tips?
  • I am in the same boat as Susan. I am doing another run  in October (Leeds castle kent) and I want to improve on my times. So I am thinking about doing this schedual (better make my mind up soon). As a fairly new runner is this 10k 8wk plan a good one for me.
  • Hi

    I have just completed the Great South Run and really enjoyed it my aim was to get in under 1hr 30 mins and did a 1hr 28min so was very happy.  i am about going to do a 10k in January and have been trying for some time to break the 50 min barrier.  I know I need to do some speed work but need the simplest method known to man/woman or I won't have the will power to keep doing it every week.  Any suggestions?Thanks!

  • Got my first 10K in 8 weeks and want to follow this plan.

    I'm confused about the terminology. What do the terms: "easy", "fast" and "jog" mean in terms of speed or effort? What speed do you do the intervals at?

    What does 70%, 80%, 90% mean? Percentage of what, MHR?

    If I should have read this somewhere, please do refer me.

    Thanks all.
  • @WFB, that was exactly my confusion as well. I love these schedules, but they are hard to read and understand without a bit of explanation of the abbreviations and terms. 

    Example: there is 2M and 400m in the text. At first I read this as 2 minutes and 400 meters. 

  • I really hope WFB hadn't been coming back each day hoping for a reply slowly getting more depressed by the day image

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