Running Faster: My New Weekly Routine

“I’ve always felt that long, slow distance produces long, slow runners.”   – Sebastian Coe

I am in the “Crazy Speed Training” phase of 2012 as determined by my annual goals & plan.  As I plan my weekly routine, I have to think about the types of runs to include.  I have blogged recently about “How to Run Faster” and it is time to follow my own advice.  In that blog, I listed several general types of runs:  repeats, intervals, tempo runs, & easy/long runs.  Hence, that list was my starting point when I sat down to establish a basic weekly schedule or runs.

Repeats:   1 Day of 400 meter repeats

Crazy speed is my main goal for the next few months, so any training routine must begin with repeats.  Since the biggest goal I have for this time is running mile in less than 5 minutes, it makes sense to run my repeats at 400 meters.  400 meters is a good distance to train because it is about 1/4 of the goal distance.  I can run 400 meters at a much quicker pace than the pace that I can maintain for a mile.  Training at this new speed will gradually strengthen my legs.  The plan is to run eight to ten 400 meter repeats at a pace that is a little faster than my goal pace.  Remember that in repeats you get full rest in between.  It is speed training, not endurance training.

For the next few weeks, I will run the 400s between 71 seconds and 75 seconds.  When that seems comfortable, I will speed them up a few seconds for a few weeks.  Once my legs have adjusted to this, the pace for a 4:59 mile will feel easy & relaxed compared to the pace on the repeats.  :)

Intervals:  1 Day of Yasso 800s

Bart Yasso, the Chief Running Officer at Runner’s World magazine found a relationship between his 800 meter interval training and the pace of his marathons.  He noticed that if trained regularly on ten 800 meter intervals with  jogging 400 meters in between and no rest, that his pace on the 800s would predict his race results.  If he ran the 800s at 2 minutes & 50 seconds, then his marathon time was around 2 hours and 50 minutes.  If he ran 800s in 2:40, then he would finish his marathon in around 2:40:00.  That is why this workout is named after him.  Not everyone gets the same exact results, but it is a good starting place for training for a faster marathon.  Since my secondary goal is to run a faster marathon, this workout seems to be the next piece of the puzzle as far as a training regimen.

Remember that this is interval training, so these will not be nearly as fast as the pace for the repeats.  Repeats are about building speed.  Intervals are about getting used to a slightly faster pace.  In the first week, I intend to run my Yasso 800s in 2:40.  I was running them around 3:00 a year ago, but I am a lot faster.  In a few months, I want to be running the Yasso 800s in 2:30 or a little below.

Tempo Runs: 2 Days of Short runs (3-5 miles)

Even though I am working on raw speed for a while, I have already gotten quite a bit faster over the last year.  I want to use my two short runs of the weeks to embrace that new level of speed.  In my last training schedule, short runs were supposed to be run at around an 8 minute mile pace.  In this speed-focused phase, I want to keep the pace of my short runs between a 6:40 mile pace and a 7:10 mile pace.  This is a lot slower than my repeats and intervals but it is still a lot faster than my pace a year ago.  In a few weeks, this pace will feel routine.

Long Runs:  1 Day of 8 to 15 miles

I love long runs, so this is my day to rekindle the passion for running deep in my heart. On my long run days, I will not display my pace or time on my Garmin.  I will only use it to tell me how far I have gone.  I am setting my third screen to only display the distance.  This is my day to relax and enjoy the run.

As for the distance, I have just wrapped up a marathon training phase.  Hence, any long run less than 20 miles feels like taking a break.  I will set a minimum distance for the day and run farther if I feel like it.  I can do that because my mileage will be so much lower on the other days that I can afford to add a few miles safely.

Rest Days:  2 Days of “Full Rest”

By full rest, I mean days in which I don’t run.  I can still mow the lawn or go for a walk in the park.  Full rest just means no running.  No running, even if I feel healthy and refreshed.  I am 44 years old.  I need these days to heal.  Rest days are an important part of getting faster!

So that is my new weekly routine.  I have not preset the order in which these days occur.  The details of my life and how my legs feel will determine this.  I just have to get it all done.

After a couple of months, I will add the sub-5 minute mile to my list of accomplishments for the year and begin a new training routine.  I’ll let you know as I go.


“Train hard, race easy, & enjoy the run!”  — P. Mark Taylor




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  1. We’re doing about the same thing! Nice change from marathon training cycles :)

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