The Meat and Two Veg of One’s Weekly Running Schedule

I made a vow after running Boston and Big Sur Marathons this spring that, in training for my next 26.2 miles, I’d like to run three times a week and definitely no more than five. This would be the “meat and two veg” staple diet of one long run, one tempo and one speed workout at the very minimum. Long runs I love (especially if it involves a road-trip) with tempos being social and a great time to catch up with friends; it’s the speed workouts I’ve always had trouble with.

You see, I’ve always defined speed as equating to track workouts and I’m not very fond of running in circles and quickly get bored of it. Fortunately speed can also be attained via interval and fartlek workouts practically anywhere outdoors – a habit I’ve developed most Monday evenings. Tonight was no exception with fellow TMIRCEr’s, Andy and Brian, being up for it too. The weather was cool and the sun already beginning to set when we met by the Esplanade at 6.15pm. My legs were tired following a 5K race yesterday so my expectations of completing the whole thing in a usual fast pace were somewhat low.
Our goal was pre-programed into our Garmins of 5 miles of 0.15 mile fast / 0.35 mile slow with a short break in the middle and, after a short warm-up, we set off. Our fast pace always hovers in the low-mid 5 min/miles and the slower ranges anywhere up to a 9 min/mile pace depending on the weather, how tired we are etc. For me tonight the slow periods were slower than usual and much welcomed.
The beauty of these workouts is that time passes quickly, it’s fun to see other runners you know and, most importantly, you’re not getting dizzy on a track; I’ve found the discipline and speed comes in handy during races and it’s an awesome workout to do with friends.
We’d love to hear your thoughts and experience on track v’s these more “open-road” intervals so please comment below. Thanks for reading… Martin