Long Run Speedwork Sandwich


Let’s start by doing a quick recap of my running week.  Believe me, it would probably be much more interesting to talk about YOUR running weeks, but this is my blog and I’m pretty darn excited with how the miles turned out, so I want to talk about me.  For the next little while.  And then you can talk about you in the comments.  Glad we are on the same page.  Here are some fun stats and different ways I came up with mileage numbers to make it sound unbelievably amazing.

58.5 miles for the week (last Sunday the 4th through Saturday 10th)

78.5 miles for the past 8 days (Saturday – Saturday)

87.5 miles covering the past nine days, including 1 day of non-running


Weekend Workouts – Saturday – Long run, 17.5 miles – more on this in a moment. 

Sunday(today) – 9 miles easy recovery, 7:50 pace + driveway strength stuff (I did it in the driveway;-)) – lunges, pushups, tricep dips, various abdominal exercises.  I’m getting good at the easy recovery pace.  Learning every day. 

I finished my long run yesterday and realized I had done 58.5 miles.  I have never even come close to that in any training.  Super happy.  58.5 is pretty darn close to 60.  I told the hubs that and he said, “you have to go back out and do 1.5”  I was thinking the same thing.  The thing is, that when I come in from a long run on Saturday, having been gone for over 2 hours – the children attack.  It’s hard to break away.  A decision had to be made – I either do the extra mile and a half, or I take a shower.  I know what you are thinking – why would a shower even enter my mind, we all know I have very little concern with going about my day unshowered after a run.  It was only a thought because we had a dinner engagement at someone’s home later that evening.  For that reason, I selflessly chose not to inflict that stinky punishment on our hosts later that evening –the shower ensued.  I would have rather been running 1.5 miles.  I’ll see you another week, 60 miles.  You haven’t gotten away from me for good.

I’m also pretty happy with how my long run went.  I had the epiphany as I was laying in bed Friday night figuring out how I was going to complete this run, that I wanted to do some speedwork in the middle of it.  My favorite place to do speedwork is the treadmill.  This worked out perfectly.  I was super thankful that the weather wasn’t like last’s weeks small inconvenience of a day.   

The plan was hatched in my crazy little brain to run to the gym (5.5 miles), hop on the treadmill for the speedwork, and run home (5.5 miles).  I wanted to get in at least 6 miles on the treadmill.  I was very happy with the outcome.  And, I felt like it was very creative and “out of the box” for me.  Another pat on the back.  Not your grandma’s speedwork, for this little lady anyway. 

This is what the 5.5 miles outside looked like – little rollers, pretty easy.  I just took it nice and easy and ended up with a 7:20 pace. 

iphone pics 427

The treadmill speedwork looked like this: pay close attention, because it probably won’t make much sense.  and you will probably have to read and re-read. 

.5 mile warmup @ 7:45 mile, then…

1 mile @ 6:30 pace, .25 mile @ 5:50 pace, 1 mile @ 6:30, .5 mile @ 5:50

.5 mile @ 7:45 pace

1 mile @ 6:27 pace, .25 mile @ 5:45 pace, 1 mile @ 6:27, .5 mile @ 5:45

then shoot myself.  or cut off my legs.  oh, but I have to run 5.5 miles home.  fun is. actually, that 6:27-6:30 pace felt pretty fantastic and sustainable after the 5:50.  

Stretched, did some abs and hit the road. 

5.5 miles home, same route as above, 7:27 pace.  17.5 total done.  Not bad. 

There’s my homemade long run speedwork sandwich.  Slap some speedwork, with some speedwork in the speedwork, in the middle of a long run – it’s tasty, and oh so fun.  It was actually a GREAT run.  really good.  Happy Katie.  It flew by.  It really broke up a monotonous long run.   

A couple things:

1 – I would hate for you to think that a 5:45 min/mile interval is a walk in the park.  Especially that last .5 mile @ 5:45.  It’s more like a sprint in the park.  With an angry dog chasing you.  It took everything in me not to slam that stop button on the treadmill prematurely.  For no other reason than it was HARD.  That’s the only reason.  And that is where some mental strength comes in my friends.  That’s what makes the difference between getting faster or stronger and staying where you are.  No, I’m not saying you have to run a 5:45 speed interval, I’m talking about NOT stopping whenever your HARD actually gets really hard.  I had to TALK my way through that last speed interval.  My legs are moving…they are not hurting…I am breathing…I’m not even breathing hard…focus on the breathing…focus on the legs moving forward…DO NOT HIT THE BUTTON DAMNIT!!!  It takes some serious concentration to get through the hard.  But, this is what I prepared for all week.  I took it easy on the easy days so that I could push it on the harder days.  I KNOW that I could have pushed it harder at the end.  For next week.

2 – That 5.5 miler home really wasn’t too bad.  Was I tired – you bet.  I did not take any fuel for this run.  I didn’t need it.  I definitely had to find my inner 7:30 min mile and reach for it, if only to get to 7:45.  Pleasantly surprised that I hit 7:27.  There is definitely an inner drive that you’ve got to find to make your legs go when they are kind of tired.  It’s there. 

3 – I think the hard and the tired stop a lot of people dead in their tracks.  I truly believe there is an inner drive that can overcome those things.  A lot of people want to improve their running.  They want to get faster, better, more efficient.  Maybe not right now.  But, it’s usually only a matter of time of just “running” the runs, or jogging around your town, that you want a little more from yourself.  There is something about running, really running consistently, that grabs you and doesn’t let you go without wanting more out of it.  People get stuck in the HARD and the TIRED and don’t get through it to where the hard and the tired are no big deal.  I think those are things that can be easily overcome.  With practice.  Just like anything else.  Don’t give up as soon as you feel tired.  Don’t stop pushing it as soon as it’s hard.  Push harder.  And next time, push harder for a little longer.  And then a little longer.  When I ran my last marathon in November, I learned a little bit about how my body worked and the comfort level it had.  Until the severe IT band pain hit at mile 16-18 (my left leg literally just started buckling out from under me – that made it tough, more mentally draining than anything, and hard to keep the pace) I was holding a 6:45 pace pretty comfortably.  As soon as I would slip out of that pace, I had to work HARD to get it back.  Then I would settle back into that pace, and I felt great.  There is a pace like that for everyone.  One that you have to work to get to, but then soon becomes more comfortable and “easy” in a way.  Expect more of yourself, and you will get more.  profound.

Ok.  I think those are my long run epiphanies for the day.  I have pretty much completely deviated from my training plan.  I need to sit down and figure out the next 3 weeks of training and the little taper-oo at the end.  I need quality speed work, and quality hills.  and quality runs all around.  I have 34 days until Gansett Marathon.  I’m hoping for at least another 50 mile week this week.  High hopes. 

I will leave you with some of my favorite speed/strength/hard running sessions.  Fartleks are not one of them.  You’ll have to go look those ones up on your own time.  I don’t like to talk about them.  And I don’t like to do them.  Although, I’m pretty sure they are at the top of the “get you faster” list.  More power to you, that likes them.  Ok, fine.  All I will tell you is that it means “speed play” and is like an informal speed interval.  You’re on your own from there.  Here are some more.  Some type of speedwork should be a part of weekly training – if your goal is to get faster/stronger/more efficient.  

  • Tempo – A sustained run at a hard, controlled pace (usually for no more than 40 minutes).  Usually about 10-15 seconds slower than race pace.  Or between 5/10K and half marathon pace.  The tempo run improves your running pace and performance and makes your running more efficient. A variation is the tempo interval, which is two or more shorter tempo runs separated by a few minutes of easy pace.  (Kind of like what I did on my treadmill run yesterday, but that was more speedwork)
  • Speed Intervals – Can be done on track, road, treadmill.  I prefer treadmill and track.  It’s a 5-10 minute warm up followed by a series of harder intervals, with rest intervals in between – jogging at an easier pace.  Then another cool down.  You can get very creative with these – changing the distance, keeping it shorter, like 1/4 or 1/2 mile, or making them longer, 1-2 miles.  You could also go by a time limit, like 3-6 minutes with recovery jogs of about half the distance of each speed interval. 

    • HIIT – High-Intensity Interval Training.  It’s a series of near-maximum intensity sprints with less-intense recovery intervals (after a warm up of course) and usually lasts between 10-20 minutes (not counting warm up and cool down).  These can be tough because of the intensity.  Build up to them. 
    • Hills- I think this is the best way to build strength for running, without doing strength workouts.  Either run to a hill for a warmup, run up it and back down, repeat.  Or, run a hilly course.  Good stuff
    • Yasso’s – It’s a form of speed training for marathoners, adaptable it for other training. You do 10 repeats of 800 meters on the track, working up to a certain goal time. The goal time is figured by taking your goal marathon time and turning it from hours and minutes to minutes and seconds.  If your goal marathon was 3 hours, you would do 800 meters in 3 minutes, with 3 minute jogging intervals, 10 times.
  • Mile Repeats – on track or treadmill, exactly how they sound.  A mile at a strong pace, and maybe .25-.5 mile recovery.  Repeat.  You can do different distances as well, within the mile repeats.  Make it fun.  Get creative. 


    Brag about your running week/weekend!!??  Anyone race?

    What is your favorite type of speedwork?

    I hope everyone had a great weekend!  Onto another week….



    About msfitrunner

    I am a 29 year old stay at home, hardworking mom to my three little loves! My oldest little darling is 5, little sis is 4 and baby brother is almost 2. I have been married to my Mr. Wonderful for almost 7 years (ahhh!). My faith and my family is my rock, and I have a newfound LOVE for running. Maybe it's more of a necessity at this point - to maintain household peace and my own sanity, but whatever it is, it's working for me and I'm loving the racing. The vegan world has been calling my name, so I am testing out those waters as well! That's a tough one with three little picky eaters at home, but I am having fun coming up with new recipes and trying out new things. Follow along as I chronicle this crazy running life, and ALL the craziness that goes with it!

    15 responses »

    1. Great week of running for you!! Very inspiring my friend! This wknd I coached my running group. We are 2 wks away from then Rock n Roll Dallas half marathon! It should be fun. This week I will take your advice and try speedwork on the treadmill. 🙂

    2. Congrats on all the mighty impressive numbers here! 58.5 is awesome, as is any distance ran at 5:xx! You’re on to something here with your thinking that I wish more runners who crave the speed would acknowledge, that you don’t just wake up one day and suddenly your legs magically are able to pump out miles faster then ever before. Almost every runner wants to get faster but only the ones who push to overcome the feeling of “this hurts like hell” and “my muscles are screaming” will improve. Running is hard, and getting faster is even harder.

      So hats off to you for another stellar week!

    3. HOLY MOLY that is some amazing mileage! Congratulations on that and on how your long run turned out.
      Even though I won’t admit it as I am running them, hills are actually my faves. Also love doing tempo runs. Had the pleasure of doing two very hilly runs this weekend, and it was just the thing to kick my butt and give me a reality check after all the treadmill running I have been doing.

      • I do love hills too. I love the runs that are a challenge and I also feel like the races with some hills are better than the completely flat ones. They make you change your pace and which muscles you use. But, I would probably choose a flat race over a hilly one if it came down to it;-) Glad you got a couple good hilly runs in! It is definitely nice to be outside and not on the treadmill! I hope you have a great running week:)

    4. This was a SUPER DUPER schmooper ( <— I have kids… it just slips out 🙂 post! What cracks me up is that your "recovery" pace is my current fastest! You have some great tips and I love how you explain all the terms. I've been reading all things running that I can get my hands on lately, but for some reason I just learned more from this post than all the Runner's World artices and elite runner's books that I've ever read. Nice job! I just got some SERIOUS motivation… thank you bunches! Keep up the awesomeness and congrats on your high mileage, speedy week 🙂

      • Love the kid talk;-) It’s just too easy to slip into kid mode while talking sometimes! Keep working at it and your current fastest will be your recovery too:-) That used to be my fastest pace! I’m so glad that post was helpful to you! Sometimes I feel like I post stuff that people already know and it’s redundant. You learn something new everyday!:) I hope you have a great week with lots of good running!!

    5. I can visualize your speed work on the treadmill. I personally have had a few moments on the treadmill that has left me with a bizarre phobia of speed work on a treadmill. Most recently I was trying to skip to the next song on my player and yep it dropped, ripping the headphones out of ears, and when it fell it hit my foot and I drop kicked it into the guy running on the treadmill behind me and then I slipped and flew off the back of the treadmill all graceful like. It was soooo very awesome! I will also have you know that I typically wipe out on a regular basis while on the treadmill at the gym….while doing nothing at all. Apparently I don’t run very straight???? Now add in hauling butt at a top speed….I fear for those around me! So although I do pick up the pace I am quicker than I should be to hit that stop button just for fear of flying off the machine. Yeah for better weather and no sickness this week. Hope to get in an early morning OUTSIDE run Monday! Still just getting prepped for the Mud Run Fun! I although I have challenged my kiddos to run a 5K with me two weeks before the Mud Run but if they bail I’ll do the 10K. No halves for me yet….but your blog is getting me pumped!

      • Speedwork is definitely a little scary on the treadmill! I usually have a fear in the first few seconds of something going terribly wrong. Then I just power through it. But, given your history, maybe you should stick to the track for speedwork;-) I can’t wait to start doing little races with my kiddos. I’m thinking about having them do a one miler this weekend. I hope you are having a great week so far!

      • Yay for hills! They are such a good workout, and if you are having shin pain at all, I feel like they don’t bother the shins as much. I’m hopefully getting your little package in the mail tomorrow:-)

    6. Love reading about your workouts and love your insights. You would make a great coach…will remember your wise words next time a run feels tough/uncomfortable – i.e. tomorrow.I love a tempo run. I feel like it build strength – mental as much as physical. I hope you treat us to more posts this week — I really look forward to reading them.

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