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The first speed workout of my Marine Corps Marathon training plan was scheduled for today. I dreaded it all day…it was so hot outside (97 degrees) and it just didn’t sound fun. I know that any sane person would have just done the run on the treadmill (easy to adjust speed, air conditioned) but I decided that I’d rather face the extreme temperatures than the treadmill. I detest treadmills.

I decided to go to a local track, wear my heart rate monitor and just be careful with my run. Thankfully, all of my dread and whining was not necessary. I survived the run…and it wasn’t that bad! I totally, 100% credit all of the intense hot yoga in helping me get through it. My heart rate never even got above 170. Success!

I ran 5 miles in 45 minutes. Mile 1 was a warm up, miles 2 and 3 were speed @ around an 8 minute pace and miles 4 and 5 were cool down.

A prime example that sometimes you just need to suck it up and get your workout done. Your body can surprise you sometimes!

Why speed workouts?

If you’ve checked out my Marine Corps Marathon training program, you’ve noticed that I’m only running three times per week. Because I’m running so little, each run has a very specific purpose. Speed and tempo workouts help your body learn how to deal with stress (very important for marathon runners!) and increase your lactic acid threshold. Basically, they help you become a more efficient runner.

Let me know if you want a bigger post on lactic acid -what it is and what it does to the body. I am happy to educate! 🙂

Have you ever incorporated speed or tempo runs as part of a training program?

{ 10 comments… add one }
  • 1
    ellisa July 23, 2010, 1:16 am

    bigger post on lactic acid, please 🙂

  • 2
    Ashlee July 23, 2010, 2:13 am

    Would love a lesson on lactic acid as a beginning marathon runner!! Love your blog bty

  • 3
    Stephanie July 23, 2010, 9:48 am

    Absolutely! I always incorporate speed and tempo runs, as well as hills, strength and core into my training.

  • 4
    runnerstrials July 23, 2010, 10:02 am

    You’re sooo amazing for doing a speed workout in the heat! Three cheers for hot yoga!

    Tempo runs are my favorite workouts but I cannot stand mile or 800 repeats. I guess because there’s so much stopping and starting? I just like to get the speedy part over with 🙂

  • 5
    Kira July 23, 2010, 12:39 pm

    Good for you! I knew you’d be fine, but it’s good to hear that it went well.

  • 6
    Josie July 23, 2010, 2:54 pm

    It has been soooo long since I’ve done a speed workout. My half marathon plan calls for them though, so I guess I’ll be joining you soon! I can’t believe you did it in the heat – I would have wussed out and used the treadmill!

  • 7
    Beth July 23, 2010, 10:16 pm

    Yes, please, on lactic acid.

  • 8
    Monica August 3, 2010, 3:20 pm

    Hi! I’ve been following your blogs for a while and am finally catching up on some posts. I am a health nut too, although I don’t eat nearly as healthy as you do! I’m curious to know more about lactic acid, but also I really want to know why you had on two watches for your speed work? Can’t your Garmin track HR and also be programmed for your workout? I love my Garmin! 🙂

    • 9
      Jen August 3, 2010, 5:16 pm

      Monica – thanks for your comment! I had two watches on for speed work because I had just purchased my Garmin and didn’t have the heart rate monitor with me when I was doing my workout. I found that my Timex HRM didn’t work with the Garmin and I really wanted to monitor my HR due to the heat so I wore two watches. I know I looked silly!!!

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