Training: Track Speed Session

Pain (the good type

“Ouch, ouch, ouch, ouch…” Was what I said as I got in the door from tonight’s speed session on the track at Ashdown!

Getting Used To Zero Drop Newton MV3 Racing Flats

My legs are still getting used to running on my zero drop Newton MV3s. This was the first time I’d worn them for a proper speed session and they didn’t disappoint speed-wise! I’ve read reviews of these shoes where the writer talks of them begging you to run faster and I can attest that they really do! I went in to it in more detail in a post specifically about the Newtons. This zero drop thing is taking a while for my calfs to adjust to (I’ve only worn them three times in two weeks) but I’m confident we’ll get there in a few weeks!

Enough about Newton trainers and my legs (ouch, ouch!)

The Speed Session Itself

Tonight’s speed session was a three lap warm up (1200m), followed by the following sets of repeats; 2x400m + 5x800m + 2x400m. The 400′s had approx 1m30s rests between them and the 800′s about 2m30s. I ran the first 400′s slow (1:20), as my dodgy ankle was complaining. I then ran each of the 800′s, increasing the pace with each one finishing on a 2:45. Then in the final 400m I went all out (as much as you can at the end of a speed session!) in 1:02.

I often say that I’m not satisfied with a training session unless I feel like I couldn’t run another step… Well tonight it was all I could do to force myself to run a warm down lap at the end, before sliding exhausted into my car! Maximum satisfaction!

Total distance run was 7.5k including warmup/down, on my feet for about an hour.

Next Training
I shall see how my calfs feel when I wake up tomorrow! If not too bad then an easy 7-8k.

Training: The Self Conducted Speed Session

This will never, EVER be as good as a track speed session with a proper coach but… needs must! I couldn’t make it to the Poole A.C. Tuesday night speed sessions this week, so took myself out for one of my own, which proceeded as follows.

I began with a 1km slow warm up before going straight into 1km at 4 min per k pace. After this I found the flattest road I could in my moderately hilly village and started a set of sprint repeats. To be precise; 5km worth of 200m, jog back for 100m, sprint for 100m. When thoroughly exhausted I warmed down with a gentle jog for 1km – 7k in total!



Training: A Different Kind of Speed Session

Heart Speed Sessions

I love a good speed session – I find them so much more enjoyable than long, slow, drawn out runs mainly due to my very short attention span. The chopping and changing of speeds and the short yet intense bursts of speed also favour my naturally sprinty, fast twitch leg muscles. I often attend a local track session with Poole A.C. which is excellent but difficult to attend as my wife’s club night is on the same night (my club night’s a Wednesday night). So yesterday evening with the light fading and a chill setting in, I slipped out of the house for my own speed session.

Track or road , speed sessions are important

Solo vs Group?

First things first… a solo speed session will never, ever be as intense as a group one. I find it impossible to push myself to the same limits when I’m alone, compared to when I have people to race against, so my preference would always be for a group speed session.

The Session

I decided to take a different approach to a standard speed session with the same aim – to run at faster than 10k pace for a minimum of 40 minutes, including rests between intervals. To begin with I ran a hilly 5k in 20:30, this ended on a very steep hill! I then did a set of 10 x 200m repeats at 90% effort, with between 60-90 secs recovery between each. I then finished with a 1km slow warm down – a total distance of 8k in 36 minutes

I would say that this combination of 5k, plus repeats worked my legs for the first 5k (I could feel the lactic acid claiming my leg muscles) and busted my lungs in the 2k’s worth of repeats. I rarely feel my legs tire in a race, it’s nearly always my lungs that are screaming for air so this work on my aerobic/cardio fitness is definitely required!

Next Training:

Club night tonight with Purbeck Runners – need it to be 6 or 7 miles to keep my weekly mileage up to 30 miles although it may be a hills session. You never know!

Training: Track Session


Ah, the last track session in the dark before the clocks go forward on Sunday! It was VERY hard to leave the house for training last night… Dinner was bubbling on the stove, TV was on and it was freezing cold, raining and dark outside. All I have to do though is visualise myself getting a PB and remember how great it feels! That was enough to get changed and get out of the door.

The Training

This was my weekly speed session at the local athletics track. I arrived early so headed to the track to begin my warm up and stretches, running five gentle laps (2000m) before even starting the speed work. The session itself was intervals with roughly a one, to one and a half minute rest period between each. The total distance for the speed work was 5400 metres, divided into three sets of 400m x 600m x 800m. With ‘The Big Race‘ coming up on Sunday I resolved to take it a little easier than usual. The 400′s I ran in around 1:10, the 600′s in 1:55 and the 800′s in 2:50. Of course having not pushed myself as fast as I usually would in preparation for Sunday, it felt like I had loads left in the tank after but this is a good thing – plenty for Sunday!


Next Training

An easy to tempo paced 10k with club tonight #tapering

Training: Fartleks & How to Maximise Your Running Training

The Training

Now this was a lesson in the mantra ‘Listen To Your Body’! After Tuesday night’s track session, my legs were feeling a little tired as I stepped out of the car to join our Wednesday night club session. As we warmed up for a couple of km they were still feeling heavy. By the time we’d run 7k’s worth of sprint/jog, sprint/jog fartleks they felt like lumps of lead! Felt alright this morning though so no harm done…

The training itself was exactly 9km, including warm up and warm down and lasted precisely 44:07 (thanks Garmin!)

Two Things I Realised

There were two interesting things that I noticed last night on how to maximise a training session:

1) Include some horrible hills

Sprint up them, as fast as you can. Don’t think about the next one. So I guess it was a fartlek hills session (Swanage is a hilly place1)

2) Get Competitive

In a nice way. From personal experience even though I think I’m pushing myself as hard as I can when doing a solo speed/hill session, I’m usually not. I know this because when doing a group session I run much faster (to keep up), much harder (I’m not the one choosing the hills) and for much longer (no chance of ducking home early).

The moral of the story? Running clubs are great – join one!

Next Training:

An easy-verging-on-tempo run tonight after two evenings of speed work in a row! Then off to Cornwall for a weekend’s relaxing (spelt ‘running’!)

Training: Track Session with Poole A.C (400x400x800 x3)

Ah the track session, highlight of my running week even if I do feel ridiculously nervous before it! I always get nervous when I know I’m going to really hurt my lungs. anything over 5k is fine, no nerves, but speed session, hill sessions and Parkruns hurt and they make me nervous!

The Speed Session

The speed session itself was 4800 metres of fast running, split into three sets of 400x400x800. There’s nothing like running with other people to push yourself harder! When I was unable to go to the club speed session last week I tried to replicate my own on a flat road near my house. Even though I tried to push myself, I didn’t get anywhere near to the same intensity as I do on track.

Beginning with a 2k warm up and then stretches, I then did the first two 400′s slowly at around 1:15 and the 800 in 2:37. The middle two 400′s however, I pushed myself to about 80% and ran each of these in 1:05 with a 2 minute recovery between each. I then died in the following 800m, before repeating again for the final set of 400x400x800!

“It’s only working if it’s hurting!”

N.b. as I was warming down on the concrete path around the edge of the track, I really noticed the difference in feel from running on the track. SO much softer on your legs/ankles/hips on track!

Next Training
Club night tonight with Purbeck Runners. I will be something horribly, painfully good for us like hill repeats or fartleks!

Another Speed Session + Agreeing to Something I’m Going To Regret!

The Speed Session

Firstly the speed session with my club Purbeck Runners last night. Crikey that was a killer! Back up to Bay Crescent in Swanage but rather than the hill sprint repeats we did here a few weeks ago, this time it was more sustained circuits of approximately 500 metres. Imagine a standard athletics track, where the curves at the top and bottom are level but the straights are on a steep hill!

We did a quick 10 minute warm up before-hand, as you never jump straight into speed work cold.

It was a small group, only five of us plus Coach Ross on the start line relishing in our suffering timing us and shouting encouragement. We used a pyramid system with sets of 1 lap, 2 laps, 3 laps, 4, 3 laps, 2 laps, 1 and 1 again, each with a 1 minute rest between sets – a total of 17 laps of approx 500 metres equaling a very rough 8.5k. Yes, I did forget to start my Garmin! This with a couple of km warmup/down each side of the workout totaled 10k for the night.

A really tough session, I finished each set of repeats with lungs screaming and gasping for breath. You have to be quite disciplined with yourself, with only a minute to recover with long deep breaths and standing tall to expand your lungs fully.  I spent half the recovery time sprawled against a wall!

Agreeing to Something I’m Going to Regret

With the kids staying at their grandparents house on Saturday, my wife suggested we go for a nice run together on Sunday morning. Lovely, I thought as I agreed to joining her. Then I remembered… SHE’S MARATHON TRAINING! “Er, darling… how far were you planning on running on Sunday?” I asked hesitantly. “Just the 18 miles this week”, she replied. “I did my big run last week”. Oh, I said. I feel she may need to go out and do a few laps before I join her!

Next Training
Easy run tonight after two evenings of speed work, so a jog of 5 miles. There’s also a 5k time trial run along the promenade on Friday which I *may* do!

Training: The Track Session

This week’s track session was broken down into 5 x 1000m repeats, with 2 minute rests between each. With frost beginning to settle on the ground and steamy breath rising from each person, a decent warm up was a must so I ran a 2k slow pace as soon as I arrived, building in a few dynamic stretches and sprints as I went.

Fully warmed up we took to the track did the five repeats. 1000 metres is two and a half times round the track, although it feels a lot further when you’re 800 metres into your final repeat! I perhaps was guilty of holding back a little as I was off to play football for an hour straight afterwards!

My average pace for the session was 5:40 minute miles. As stated in my previous posts about speed sessions, the focus was on maintaining a consistent pace throughout the session to keep the body’s effort increased for the full session. Well my pace looks pretty consistent! :

Consistent speed session pace

Training: Hill Repeats (aka lung destoyers!)

Oh. My. God. I have never felt so lung-achingly, leg wobblingly, head-spinningly exhausted as I did after last night’s hill session!

It went like this:

As usual the club (Purbeck Runners) met outside The Crows Nest pub in Swanage. Such a sight to see 40-50 hi-vis jacketed people gathered on the corner, before the various groups went their separate ways!

Our hill session group ran for 10 minutes to warm up, before gathering at the foot of a quiet residential street for the main session. The chosen hill has a medium incline and is approximately 150 metres long, which appears easy at the beginning of the hour, but soon turns tricky.

Hill repeats on Bay Crescent

The scene of my pain!

Basically, we ran up the hill as fast as we could twenty times. However the 20 lengths were divided (as far as I could tell!) in to 4 sets of differing lengths. For five repeats we’d sprint halfway up the hill. The next five it would be all the way to the top, the next two thirds of the way up, then all the way to the top again. Between each length was a 1 minute ‘rest’ as we walked/jogged back down to the bottom of the hill.

I can tell you, for the first 1-10 runs I was confidently sprinting each repeat at around 90% effort. But by the 15th repeat my breath was catching, my ears had blown (they do that when I’m breathing hard!) and my legs were getting a bit shaky. By repeat number 19, I could barely breathe or move my legs, but in one final effort I forced myself up to the top of the hill, as fast as my now near-useless legs would take me.

After that 2oth was done we warmed down and it took me a good ten minutes to get my breath back – but boy did the beer in the pub afterwards taste good ; )

When it hurts that much it must be doing you some good!

Training: Track Session with @PooleAthletic

A Positive Place To Be

I began my quest for a sub 38 minute 10k with last night’s track session and it actually felt REALLY BLOODY GOOD! Going down to your local athletics track really is a positive experience. On different sections of the track you have groups of various ages doing sprinting or other speed work. In the middle of the park there are kids throwing the javelin and the hammer and on the other side of the fence, the local hockey team (who I used to play for!) doing their practice session. A hive of activity and certainly beats pounding the dark streets for me!

The Track Speed Session

Arriving at 7:30pm I warmed up with 3×400 slowly, throwing in some dynamic stretches along the way. It’s important to warm up at any time, but especially so before a speed session on a cold winter’s night!

Coach Tim announced the session for that night which consisted of 800 x 1200 x 800 x 1200 x 800 x 1200. I was initially disappointed as I love to throw myself into a few all out 400 meter sprints but as the session progressed, I felt really strong and managed to (nearly) keep up with the guys at the front! It occurred to me that the reason I felt so good was that I wasn’t just tiring myself out on a 400, then taking it easy on the longer circuits.

The most important thing in these sessions is to maintain a constantly pace throughout. so you’re running the 1200 at the same pace as your 800. The 2 minute breaks in between each round gave just enough time to get my breath back but I could certainly feel the burn in my legs on the final 1200 as the lactic acid started to make its presence known! I ignored it.

Next Training

Club night tonight with Purbeck Runners. Hoping to get in either intervals or ideally a hill session. Will report back on this tomorrow!