Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Speedwork: Necessary Fun

I'm trying to go chronologically through all the things I've wanted to write about since my trip home. This is one of them. As I think I mentioned before, I did a pretty decent job running almost every day while I was in Texas. For the few days around the 5k, I ran a couple of loops around my dad's neighborhood. Although it wasn't hot, per se, it was very muggy. But they were still decent runs. In San Antonio I did loops around my grandparents' neighborhood. While I was running I couldn't help but think that if I lived there I'd start a running club so fast...I was imagining the things I could do while I was running! Kids races, occasional 5k's and race series, it would be great. Maybe I should put those thoughts to use at some point.

For now, though, I'll focus on my own racing. Once I got to Dallas, I found a new, more exciting running experience. It wasn't that the scenery or the weather was better, it was that I found a place to run that energized me. I went to the Tom Muehlenbeck recreation center in Plano to work out. It's a gorgeous facility, and if you're ever in the area for one reason or another I'd recommend checking it out. Especially if there's a possibility that you'd move there.

One of the things I like most about it that I'd nearly forgotten about is their indoor walking/jogging track. It's not a regulation sized, indoor track, but it does provide a different running setting than I'm used to. There are 11 laps to a mile. Normally when I hear that sort of thing I roll my eyes because the thought of circling that many times to do one mile makes my head spin. But not this time. As I started running, I had the urge to just go fast. So, I did. I started doing impromptu speedwork which consisted of sprinting every other lap and just running the others at a normal pace. At times I'd switch it up and do two lap or half mile repeats. But what became even more evident to me during the few days I ran there was that I like running fast. When I started, I convinced myself that speed was not my thing and that I just did distance better. I almost felt like runs less than 6 miles in length weren't worth the time.

Throughout the course of this year, that perspective has changed drastically and it's beginning to show in my races. Not only can I go fast if I work at it, I LOVE going fast. That indoor track only inspired a greater love of it in me. Now I'm looking to do speedwork every chance I get. I should have been doing it the whole time, but better late than never, right?

My goal is to start racing short distances (10k and shorter) at close to an 8 minute per mile pace. After running as an adult for almost four years, I've come to the full realization that not only can I be fast, I love being fast and I'm excited about the prospect of getting faster in the coming months.


  1. Good for you! I'm still in the "I'm just not a very fast person" stage, but I'm toying with the idea of working on speed. I'd like to, because who wants to be slow? But at the same time, it's intimidating to me. I'll try to follow in your footsteps. :)

  2. Please! I've seen some of your paces for runs. You're not slow at all, especially for just starting out!