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sometimes I feel like a hamster when I run.

June 21, 2011

I have to warn you. With such an odd week ahead (vacation coming up . . . holla!), I probably won’t post anything about cooking meals because honestly, I won’t have time to prepare anything elaborate. I’ll probably pull something from the freezer, cook it up a bit, and just make sure my husband and I are well-nourished.

(So, for those not interested in my running “anecdotes”, please come back in about a week. Thankyouverymuch. For those of you who would like to read on, well . . . read on, my friends.)

With my schedule being all sorts of different this week, I went ahead and decided to put in a run after work yesterday, even though I had already run on Sunday morning. I figured, about 32 hours had passed so my legs were okay for running again. Off I went to the university’s rec center, where I was ready to tackle a speed workout. (But really, remember to rest in between run days, especially if you’re new at running, or cross-train/strength-train. No reason to burn yourself out! Trust me – I’ve been there, done that. I look forward to my rest days and don’t feel bad at all for not running or for doing a different workout.)

I have a confession. I was actually looking forward to it. Eeek! What is happening with me? Coach Daniel – if you’re reading this, aren’t you proud of me? 🙂 But in all seriousness, I’ve found myself slacking a bit on the speed workouts these last couple of months (and I’m beginning to be a bit more fluffy around the middle again), so I was more than pumped to get back into it. 24 laps total, at the rec center’s indoor track. Yep, I felt like this guy.

(image taken from here)

I know some people can’t handle running in small circles for a long period of time, but I’d rather do that than run on a treadmill. Whatever works for you! But let’s back up here a minute. What are speed workouts good for?

According to,

“No matter what distance race a runner is training for, or whether he is simply training to run faster, performing the correct speed workouts will help accomplish the job. Running faster is hard, but putting in the effort can make it worthwhile because of the quicker running times and results.”

Plus, interval training is helpful for burning calories. This website says:

“By challenging both you aerobic and anaerobic systems simultaneously, you’re improving your body’s ability to burn calories by leaps and bounds. You’re adding new muscle, which speeds up your metabolism of fat in general. You’re getting an aerobic workout that burns lots of calories. You’re pushing yourself beyond any plateaus that you may have hit doing the same thing over and over again. Your body is becoming a more efficient fat-burning machine.”

I have to say, when I was taking a running class several months ago, I really did not like speed days. I hated doing mile repeats. I complained through intervals. I just wanted to do my long run and that’s it! But I’m glad our coach taught us proper speed drills because my running has definitely improved, in so many ways.

Yesterday, I did fartleks. Fun word, right? states that . . .

“Fartlek is Swedish for ‘speed play’ and consists of bursts of speed in the middle of a training run. Essentially, it’s an unstructured interval session, the track without the rules. Fartlek gets your legs used to a variety of paces and in the process gives you an enhanced awareness of your ability to keep up those paces at various distances.”

(My husband laughs when I say the word “fartlek”. I laugh too. Yep, we’re mature!)

For more information on speed workouts, feel free to check out this page from or this page from Runner’s World.

So for my workout yesterday, because I was looking forward to doing an easier (albeit “speedy”) and shorter run, I did a one mile warmup, in 11:07, then 8 laps with fartleks (20 seconds to 30 seconds), then a one mile cool down lap in 9:15. I felt great. I was also glad to have been able to do that final mile faster than my initial mile, even with tired legs. Approximately 3 miles total in 29:42. Short and sweet! Plus, I threw in some ab exercises I learned from my running class, and a little bit of stretching. (Again, Daniel – are you reading this?! Yep, you have taught me well, sensei.)

Now, just gotta find time to squeeze in a long run before my vacation. I’m hoping to do 8 miles tomorrow. Do you realize that if I run indoors again, that’s 64 laps? Holy moly.

Okay, friends. Signing off. Catch you on the flip side!

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