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  • Running for Time, not distance

    So heres my situation, I started a new running program, and am doing pretty decent with it. It is more built for people looking to do marathons though and average 10-12 min /mile. What I need though is to be able to do 1.5 miles in 13.40, which means I need a little better speed. Does anyone know of any programs, or excercise routines that would help me increase my times?

    Right now Im averaging about 15 min 1.5 mile.

    Im not in the best shape, but Im ok.

  • #2
    First off, keep it up! How often do you run? Do so at least 5 times a week.

    Run your 15 minute mile pace, but you need to run that pace when for at least three miles 3 miles. Don't just train for the distance you need to run. You need to run longer distances at a comfortable, but not too comfortable pace. I suggest you pick 1 of your days out of 5 to push yourself at the 1.5 mile run. Keep it up and it will become easier. Others who like to run LONGER distances probably will have better advice.

    Comment


    • #3
      The Basics

      Alright, its been awhile since I wrote this up and its probably lost in the ether somewhere, but here's a primer on speed-work and running in general.

      First up, for maximum effect, you should be running between 4 and 5 days a week. You can survive on 3 days, but you won't make much for gains. Five days seems about optimum for the average runner.

      Since you're target is a 1.5M run, you should be running at a minimum between 10 and 15 miles a week. Fifteen to twenty miles a week would be better. You need to break down that mileage into some quality workouts to really make a difference though. Each week should consist of one long run, one speed-work day, and one tempo day. The other two days you run should be easy runs. I'll discuss each type of run individually in a minute.

      Before we get into work-outs, let's talk some basics. First up is form. Bad running form accounts for a huge percentage of running injuries and will actually cause you to be slower. Proper form: head up, looking forward; shoulders relaxed; arms loose; hands open (not clinched); hips forward; core tight (but not aggressively so); legs relaxed. Your feet should hit the ground directly below you're hips (center of gravity). When your feet do hit the ground, you should be striking mid-foot to toes and rolling through the ground impact so that you're feet kick out behind you.

      Second basic is equipment. The only thing you really need is good shoes. Go to a running store and get fitted by a professional. Spend the money for a pair of good quality shoes that fit your running style. If you want to spend some extra money, a pair of compression shirts, a nice pair of shorts and a technical shirt are worth the expense.

      Last basic: breathing. Find a rhythm to your breathing that works for you. Some people will tell you in for two steps, out for two steps. Some will say three, other four. The basic thing to take from the discussion is that your breathing should be rhythmic and natural.

      {Continued on next post: Your week in running}
      Originally posted by kontemplerande
      Without Germany, you would not have won World War 2.

      Comment


      • #4
        Weekly Breakdown

        Now that I've got the basics out of the way, lets talk about those individual work-outs. As I said above, five days a week is about optimum for your average runner with no aspirations of winning some gold. But we're not going to just go off willy-nilly and run whatever. As with most things in life, if you want to get maximum results, you'll need a plan.

        The basic elements of that plan are the speed day, the tempo day, the easy day and the long day.

        The Long Run is a (the) major key to the whole program. This is one run that should account for about 40-50% of your weekly mileage. For example, if you're running 10 miles a week, you're long run should be between 4 and 5 miles long. This builds you're cardiovascular capability, strength, and overall endurance. This run should run at a relatively slow pace. You said you're running about a 10:00/mile pace so this run should be around 11:30 to 12:00/mile. Running slow is an important element to getting faster....

        Next up is the easy day. We'll nestle these in between you're quality work-outs as a matter of recovery and rest while still getting some benefit. There's no set distance for these runs and they should be slow and easy. By easy I mean you should be able to comfortably hold a conversation during the run. A simple 1.5 or 2M run would be about right for you.

        Now we'll get into some fun and talk about the Tempo run. We'll discuss it more in depth in the next post, but the tempo run is essentially a set distance run at a specific target pace. For example, if you're running all out to achieve a 15 minute 1.5M, you'd set your target pace at about 15:30 to 16:00 for a 1.5M distance. I'll get more into this in the next post. The point of the tempo run is to get your body used to running at near "race" pace.

        Last up is speed-work. Once a week, you should do a quality speed day that is designed to increase your overall speed and fitness. There are several different types of speed workouts so I'll discuss them in the next post.

        {Next up: Speeding and Farting}
        Originally posted by kontemplerande
        Without Germany, you would not have won World War 2.

        Comment


        • #5
          The Speed Day

          Ok, now that we've laid the groundwork, lets talk about the FUN stuff. This is the stuff that will take that 15:00 1.5M and turn it into a 12:00 1.5M. For the beginning runner, you should only do these high-intensity workouts ONCE a week and ONLY AFTER YOU'VE GOT A SOLID BASE OF MILEAGE UNDER YOUR BELT. I didn't mean to shout there, but that is very important. Get to where you are running your weekly mileage goal as easy runs comfortably before adding in speed-work. For example, if your goal is 20 miles a week, build up to it by doing easy runs until 20 miles a week is comfortable. Doing speed-work before you're ready will cause you to get hurt.

          Speed-work is any of several quality work-outs that are designed to activate your fast-twitch muscle fibers and get you running like the wind. The basic workouts are: Fartlek, Interval, Hills, Tempo, and Strides. There are advanced variations of each, but we'll stick to the basics.

          The Fartlek is my favorite speed day and is really fun. This is a loose, fun workout that lacks structure and is totally up to you how hard you want to work. After a nice warm-up, you pick a spot in the distance like a telephone pole or a mailbox etc, and run balls out to it. When you get there, slow back down and catch your breath. Once you've recovered your breath, pick another spot in the distance and sprint out. Keep repeating until you're done with the run. Remember, this is meant to be loose and fun while still challenging.

          Intervals are similar to Fartleks, but are structured and carefully timed. On a running schedule you might see something like "4x400" or "6x200". This means that you run 400 meters four times with a set recovery between runs. You run the interval at a nearly all out pace. You then recover for a set time and do it again. Keep doing this until the work-out is done. The limited recovery time and all-out efforts will really get your heart pounding and your legs tired. This is good because its laying the ground work for faster runs down the pike.

          Hills are just what it sounds like, running up a hill. Find a hill that takes anywhere from 20 to 30 seconds to run up. Warm-up by jogging out to the hill. Once you get there, run all out to the top then slow jog down to the bottom and repeat. You'll do this 4-6 times then jog home. This workout really emphasizes leg strength and kick-off ability.

          Lastly is the tempo run. I recommended a weekly tempo run earlier, so this one would be in addition to that run. A tempo run is running a set distance at an accelerated pace to simulate your racing strategy. Generally, you'd warm up and then run a set distance at a a pace that is 10 to 30 seconds slower than your projected race pace. For example, you'd warm up for a quarter mile, then run 1 mile at a 10:10 pace followed by a quarter mile cool down. The weekly tempo run I recommended earlier should be run at a slightly slower pace than you're speed-work tempo run, but only by a few seconds.

          {Last post: Putting it all together}
          Originally posted by kontemplerande
          Without Germany, you would not have won World War 2.

          Comment


          • #6
            The best way to work on your speed is on a treadmill......You can easily adjust the speed and keep track of your distance plus it pushes you. You should start off at about 7 MPH and then push it up to 10 MPH and sprint for about 30 seconds then bring it back down to 7 MPH. Run 5 times a week to get good results. If you can't run 1.5 miles under 12 minutes you technically out of shape. You need to push it and using a treadmill is the best way to do it. You should never go slower than 7 MPH when using a treadmill.
            Not all men can be U.S. Marines that is why there is the Army, Navy and Air Force.

            Comment


            • #7
              Putting It All Together

              I know I put out a lot of information there without much direction, so I'll try to rectify that now.

              Here's what a running plan using the above elements would look like:

              Mon. Rest or Cross-Train
              Tues: Speed-day (Fartlek 2M)
              Weds: Easy Day 1.5M
              Thur: Tempo 1M (plus 1/4 warm-up & 1/4 cool-down)
              Fri: Rest or Cross Train
              Sat: Easy Day 1.5M
              Sun: Long Run 4M
              Total: 10M

              You can safely add 10% to your weekly mileage (or time) each week. Every fourth week, you should cut back you're mileage a bit in order to give you're body a chance to recover.

              Building a good running plan should be done by a coach or a trainer and should be customized to you and your goals.

              Hope all this helped.
              Originally posted by kontemplerande
              Without Germany, you would not have won World War 2.

              Comment


              • #8
                Originally posted by valetudo39 View Post
                The best way to work on your speed is on a treadmill......You can easily adjust the speed and keep track of your distance plus it pushes you. You should start off at about 7 MPH and then push it up to 10 MPH and sprint for about 30 seconds then bring it back down to 7 MPH. Run 5 times a week to get good results. If you can't run 1.5 miles under 12 minutes you technically out of shape. You need to push it and using a treadmill is the best way to do it. You should never go slower than 7 MPH when using a treadmill.
                That's a good way to get hurt. If someone like the OP, who's pushing to run a 10:00/mile pace suddenly jumped on a treadmill and tried to run at an 8:30 pace (or God forbid a 6:00/mile pace), they'd kill themselves.

                You wouldn't recommend that a person who's never lifted weights before start out with a 225 lbs bench press, would you? While you and I might be able to lift that with no problem, some guy who's never touched a barbell before would be a fool to try it. That's essentially what you're recommending here. You're telling a guy who can just barely bench 135 lbs that he should never do anything less than a 225 lbs bench.
                Originally posted by kontemplerande
                Without Germany, you would not have won World War 2.

                Comment


                • #9
                  This needs to be a sticky- SRT936 I have been saying it for years Great Job.. I always find your post's helpful!!
                  MDRDEP:

                  There are no stupid questions, but there sure are a lot of inquisitive idiots.

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Originally posted by SRT936 View Post
                    That's a good way to get hurt. If someone like the OP, who's pushing to run a 10:00/mile pace suddenly jumped on a treadmill and tried to run at an 8:30 pace (or God forbid a 6:00/mile pace), they'd kill themselves.

                    You wouldn't recommend that a person who's never lifted weights before start out with a 225 lbs bench press, would you? While you and I might be able to lift that with no problem, some guy who's never touched a barbell before would be a fool to try it. That's essentially what you're recommending here. You're telling a guy who can just barely bench 135 lbs that he should never do anything less than a 225 lbs bench.
                    I said to start off at 7 MPH which is not too fast and then bump it up to 10 MPH for 30 seconds then bring it back down.......he said he can run 1.5 in around 15 minutes so he not that out of shape. Now if he said he does not run at all that is a different story. Plus nobody is going to die from running too fast unless he has heart problems or is seriously over weight and if that is the case he should not running at all. He might puke up his guts but that is about it.
                    Not all men can be U.S. Marines that is why there is the Army, Navy and Air Force.

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Originally posted by valetudo39 View Post
                      I said to start off at 7 MPH which is not too fast and then bump it up to 10 MPH for 30 seconds then bring it back down.......he said he can run 1.5 in around 15 minutes so he not that out of shape. Now if he said he does not run at all that is a different story. Plus nobody is going to die from running too fast unless he has heart problems or is seriously over weight and if that is the case he should not running at all. He might puke up his guts but that is about it.
                      Its still bad advice. Jumping from a 10:00/mile to a 6:00/mile is going to get someone hurt. Even a jump to an 8:30/mile is a HUGE jump in pace. Running, like nearly all fitness activities, needs to be built up.

                      Even if you're idea worked, it would certainly not be any fun and a person would quickly learn to HATE running.
                      Originally posted by kontemplerande
                      Without Germany, you would not have won World War 2.

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        You should be able to only run 2x/week and improve your running speed. How? By doing intense cardio on other days as well. For example, if you did Kenneth Jay's Viking Warrior Conditioning (16kg kettlebell snatches), you would significantly improve your cardio. Running 2x/week will get your body used to the pounding. More than 3 or 4x/week and you're risking injury, particularly if you're new to running.

                        I can stop running for a month or longer and then go out and run a 10 minute 1.5 mile time. I can do this because I do intense cardio nearly every day and I am in excellent cardio shape. Of course, when I haven't run in a while, it makes me sore for the next day or two, but the point is I can do it. This may not be true for everyone. But for me, with a stocky, non running build it works for me (5-09/185).

                        I didn't read SRT's posts in detail, but he certainly sounds like he knows what he's talking about. I bet it would work for you if you 1- have a runner's build or 2- are used to logging daily runs. Even if you follow SRT's advice, I'd still work in non-running HIIT cardio 2 or 3 days/week (jump rope, cycling, KB snatches/swings, stair climbing, etc).
                        Last edited by hopperja; 03-22-2011, 01:47 AM.

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Originally posted by Exodus259
                          Great advice from SRT, though, I disagree with some. I wouldn't say run 4/5 times a week. I made my 1.5m time by running 3 times a week, about 2.5/3.0m runs.
                          Four to five days is generally considered optimum, but some people do fine with 3 others need to run 7. I'm detailing the basics of a generally successful running program that will get people running for life. Everybody is different, so different things work for different people. What I've distilled down into a very basic form above is the averages.

                          Originally posted by Exodus259
                          Starting off new to running and pushing that many days can lead to injuries. Specially if you are adjusting to new running shoes.
                          Absolutely. I should have been more clear about that point when I was discussing base building and only adding 10% to your weekly mileage. If you're running 3 days a week right now, you can usually add one more day each week as an easy run without problems, as long as you aren't trying to push too far too hard.

                          Originally posted by Exodus259
                          The shoes are ESSENTIAL. I used to have all sorts of ankle pains and shin splints, and what not. I went to a running store and got fit for shoes that match my arch in my foot and how I strike the ground. I have Brook's Advantage. I spent the $105 for a pair of shoes, and it was one of the BEST investments I made for working out. I feel no pains when I do longer runs, no soar spots, etc. For a runner, you NEED running shoes. Period.
                          If I could give just ONE piece of advice to people looking to get better at running it would be this right here.
                          Originally posted by kontemplerande
                          Without Germany, you would not have won World War 2.

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            SRT's advice is what you will get from anyone with knowledge in the running community...

                            I am a recreational runner and I run anywhere from 1,200-1,500 miles a year. Every year I run around two 5ks, four 10ks, a 5 miler and last year I ran a marathon. I am in two running clubs that meet for weekly runs and I subscribe to runner's world and running times magazine for a few years now. I would say I know more than the average Joe about running. <---- Just giving a background.

                            I will say it again... What SRT just posted is what anyone who wants to improve their running time should follow!!!

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              SRT has great advice and I wouldn't add much to it.

                              I will say this to add on to what he is saying:

                              Don't make running a chore. If you're really out to challenge yourself, set short attainable goals to shoot for. Improving your running is HARD WORK. It takes a lot of dedication, sweat and tears.

                              If you can't see past the "pain" of the workouts, you'll get tired of it and frustrated. You can get past this by testing yourself, and writing your goals out and keeping track of your improvements on paper.

                              Seeing how I improved weekly/monthly/yearly and looking back at my old running times motivates me more than anything. Be proud of your accomplishments.
                              "Character is someone you are when no one is watching."

                              Comment

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