I’m 3 weeks into Kara Goucher’s Half Marathon training plan and all I keep thinking to myself is why the hell did I not try this plan YEARS ago.
When I started running I had no idea what I was doing and created my own training plans that were centered around a weekly long run and 1-2 recovery runs. I figured the best way to get better at distance running was to run long distances over and over again right? WRONG! I would end up blowing out my legs and being too sore for any other running.
My crazy training plans worked because I’ve now completed 5 half marathons and 1 full marathon BUT I have never felt in any of these races that I could have gone any faster. My body was so use to running the same speed over and over and over pushing the pace wasn’t even an option.
So going into this year of racing I know I can do the distance (13.1 miles) but now I’m shooting for a goal PR of 1:45:00 at Rock ‘N’ Roll San Diego in June.
Back to the Kara Goucher plan… Kara has you running 4-6x/ week with 1 speed day, 2-4 easy days and 1 long(ish) day. HOLY SHOCK TO MY BODY!
The first week of the plan I couldn’t walk for days after the first speed workout. It was so incredibly eye opening to realize just how badly I’d been neglecting these speed muscles for the past ummm 2 years of running. OOPS!
I’ve completed 3 speed workouts now: a fartlek run, running 3 miles at 10-20 seconds under goal race pace and 3 miles at 10-20 seconds over race pace. These workouts have been hard as hell considering I use to do most of my training at a 9:30-10:30/ mile pace and with my goal of a 1:45:00 half my goal pace is about 8:00/ mile.
Butttt guess what?? I’ve actually completed the workouts and every single time I’m finished I feel so motivated and it really reinforces my confidence that if I stick to Kara’s plan this 1:45:00 goal may actually be possible. I’ve also felt a long stronger in my longer runs and seem to have that kick at the end that I’ve never had before.
Speed work…I’m starting to really believe in you!
Types of Speed Training:
So after all that talk about speed training you may be wondering how you can incorporate it into your running routine.
Here’s some of the speed workouts from Kara Goucher’s Half Marathon training plan:
- Fartlek (speed play): Warm up 1-2 miles off the track! Run (2 min strong, 1 min easy, 1 min pushing, 2 min easy). Repeat this (2,1,1,2) 3-6 times, then cool down. No Garmin! Paces unimportant, just a way to be in tune with how you feel, and ease in to working out.
- Smooth Miles: 3x mile at goal half pace plus 10 sec-20 sec, with 1-2 min rest in between. Visualize being consistent.
- Tempo: 3 miles continuous at 20 sec over goal pace. Goal for this workout is to build aerobic strength. Try to keep the pace steady.
- Pace Checker: 8x800m at goal half pace with 1 min rest. This workout should get you comfortable with your race pace. This is a good check-in point on your half goal. If this workout is not doable as written, consider adjusting your goal.
- Switchblade: 2 miles continuous (1st mile @ 10 sec over goal pace, 2nd at 10 sec under goal pace), 2-3 min rest, repeat switchblade. This workout is a great one to avoid “pace lock”, and also to practice the natural variations around goal pace that happen during the actual race. Try to be as relaxed as possible during the 10 sec over goal pace!
- Cutdown: 4 miles continuous: 1st mile 20 sec over goal pace, 2nd mile 10 sec over goal pace, 3rd mile at goal race pace, 4th mile at 10 sec under goal pace. The goal of this workout is to go faster each mile. If your first mile is 30 sec over goal, just try to cut 10 sec off each mile.
Yep, it’s officially La Jolla Half week!
I didn’t pick this race to go for a PR on because to make it simple it’s SO HILLY! This freakin’ course has a 2 mile hill at about miles 5-7 then another killer hill at the very end… goal = finish!
So since it’s technically a taper week and training week I’m going to skip from week 4 to week 10 so I still get some running in but not SO MUCH that I’m dead come race day.
Here’s what week 10 aka taper week looks like from Kara Goucher’s plan:
workout #10 “fun reminder”: 2x mile at goal with 2 min rest in between, 3 min rest, 2x800m at goal, 1 min rest in between. This should be a fun one! Don’t overthink it, and don’t go faster than your goal pace!
anddd here’s my plan:
- Monday: rest + stretch
- Tuesday: 3 easy miles with strides + yoga
- Wednesday: 5 easy miles
- Thursday: yoga
- Friday: 3 mile fun reminder workout (+1 mile warm-up)
- Saturday: rest + stretch
- Sunday: RACE DAY!!
Have you noticed that speed training has helped your running game?
What’s your favorite speed workout?
Are you running the La Jolla half or any races this weekend?
Linking up with Eat Pray Run DC for the Weekly Training Recap