Day 22: A Little Cardio + Some Abs

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Pretty easy Monday Crew! Jump rope, oblique Crunches, standing side crunch and a wall sit (post run if you are running today).

Speed Work: In order to run faster, you have to run fast.

I know, some of you don’t do speed work. You run for fun, relaxation and fitness, not to induce pain. You’ve seen me talk about adding speed work before, but your eyes glaze over and you skip right past it, because that just isn’t what you and your running are about. You’re probably ready to skip this one, too. But wait…

Speed work is about more than just getting faster. Your heart will get stronger, your cardiovascular system more efficient, the muscles better able to function at full force. That will translate to greater strength, faster times, easier daily runs. And you’ll just plain feel better.

If you ask a runner why they are getting much better results than a year ago, the response will be “I’ve increased my intensity” — which means they’re doing more well-planned and well-executed speed sessions.

The reasons to do speed work are so simple they almost seem simple-minded. Slogging through one slow, long-distance session after another can only help you improve so much. You need to do something as quick, or quicker, than your targeted race pace.

This will not only increase your pace for short races, but it will make your log runs feel easier!

You’re thinking, “ok that sounds good, but how do I even get started?”

Keep it simple. Let’s say you’re at the point where you’re doing at three or four runs a week, and you feel pretty good. You’re just not sure how to bump it up from there. Maybe speed work seems too complicated with all those distances to deal with, times to record, rest intervals to pay attention to. Then, too, there’s this business of going to a track and acting like the Bigshot Runner. That whole arena is for the serious-minded Olympic aspirant, right?

Well, not really. Most tracks are public facilities and, when not being used for official school practices, open to runners like you. But beginners are often intimidated by the track setting, so there are ways to introduce faster-paced running without leaving the area that feels like home.

Pick up on pickups: Pickups are segments of faster-paced running injected into an existing run. This type of running is called a “fartlek” (fartlek is the Swedish term for “speed play”). To easy into speed work, you can run a favorite 3-mile course begin choosing landmarks and running to them at a quicker-than-normal pace.

It might be the next street light, it might be the top of a hill. Start with doing six or eight of these “pickups” during your run.

Same loop, same scenery, just the occasional decision to run slightly faster for a while. This takes away the stress of going to a track.

Pace yourself: Run at a controlled faster pace, a pace you know you can hold for each of the 6-8 fartleks in your run.

Start with :15 intervals of faster running, then work your way up to 1 minute for each fartlek.

Strides: Strides can be added right after your warm up, in the middle of a workout or tacked on at the end. The goal is to get the body moving in a quick, fluid motion, rehearsing fast running so the muscles and nervous system adjust to it. The key is to enjoy the pure movement of flying down the road, that wonderful rush you get when you run fast.”

Speed work Rules:

Remember these 10 tips when you start adding the fast stuff to your running program:

  1. Graduate from basic training: If you’re a beginning runner, you need at least three to four months of building up before starting speedwork. Meaning? You should be comfortable running steadily for 30 minutes three to four times a week.
  2. Scout out the right course: Avoid traffic and other hazards. Also shun fast downhill running. It looks easy, but it’s actually tough on the muscles and can lead to injuries in a hurry.
  3. Consider the surface: Grass and dirt trails are nice, but a smooth surface is even more important. Tree roots, sidewalk cracks and potholes can be dangerous. Rubberized tracks–smooth and springy–are often your best bet.
  4. Warm up and stretch: Always begin with 10 to 15 minutes of easy running before picking up the pace. Combine that with stretching for optimum results.
  5. Don’t start too fast: Beginners usually err on the speedy side of speed work. Hold it steady, and don’t run so fast that your breathing and heart rate go crazy.
  6. Focus on form: Speed work improves your system’s bio-mechanics, so think about form when you run fast. Visualize yourself running lightly, smoothly, and efficiently.
  7. Find the fun: Faster running is a new kind of effort, but it doesn’t have to be grim. Reduce stress by playing speed games and just plain enjoying the zestier pace.
  8. Rest the day after: If you’re used to running the same pace day after day, you’ll need to work at developing true rest days. Slow way down, cut back on distance or skip running altogether on the day after a speed session.
  9. Start with five: That’s a good number of repeats to begin with for most speed work sessions. And one session a week is wise at first. After your body adjusts, add a second session.
  10. Be careful when you race: A little speed work can instill a false sense of overall fitness. Be cautious about your ability to maintain a fast tempo. Learn to run at a pace you can hold the whole way.

Advanced Speed Work: If you are a more advanced runner and have done speed work before, then it’s time to step up your game.

This week’s speed work is a ladder – this just means different distances incorporated into the same workout.

Workout: 5-7 miles total

1) 1-1.5 mile warm up
2) 4-6x 800M (.5 mile) with a 2 minute rest in between
3) 2-4x 400M (.25 mile) with a 2 minute rest in between
4) 2-4x 200M (.13 mile) with a :60 rest in between
5) 1 mile cool down (slow to easy pace) + a 5 minute walk

Looks intimidating but once you do it you realize it not only “wasn’t that bad” but it was actually fun!

For those who stay in the 5k-10k range, go with a 5 mile speed work session. For those who are training for longer distances like a half or full marathon, put on your big girl panties and do the 7 mile workout!

If you’re not sure what pace you should be running at, PM me and let’s chat. I will help you find a good pace to push yourself but also be able to complete the full workout.

Speed work should be a couple days after your long run, and a couple days before your next tough workout (i.e. hills, tempo run, long run).

I hope to see a bunch of fartlek and ladder workouts this week! Remember….if you want to run faster….YOU HAVE TO RUN FAST! 🙂

Day 22 exercise:

  • 300 Jump Rope
  • 50 Oblique Crunches (per side)
  • 50 Standing Side Abs (per side)
  • :60 Wall Sit (right after your run if you are running today)

I think most of you are familiar with the oblique crunch, but if not let me know and I will demonstrate it for you…

The standing side crunch might not be as familiar so watch the video below to see how it’s done..

It’s Monday Crew. That means NO MEAT and the best time to kick off a great week! Let’s get to work! 🙂

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