I’ve been back running now for 10 weeks since I was given my clearance to start up again after having Grant. I started off pretty slow, utilizing the run/walk approach that first week, and running only every other day to make sure I wasn’t overdoing it. From there, I kept creeping up in the time I spent out running, and then finally reintroduced my Garmin into my life. For me, I wasn’t looking to see my speed as much as simply wanting to know my progress.
Once I hit the 8 week mark, I was ready to start introducing some light speed workouts back into my routine. It is no easy task, but definitely necessary to reach goals in the future and to start building a quicker base. Here are a few tips to get back into some faster workouts.
Focus on Endurance Before Speed
It’s important to make sure you build your endurance before you build up your speed. If you can’t run 4 miles easy, do you really think you are going to be able to run them hard? Make sure you have a solid base before even considering picking up the pace. If you don’t, your injury rate is going to become much greater.
Start Off Easy
It is important to understand you will most likely not be hitting your race goal pace on your workouts for a while. Get into your workout groove, and simply see where you are – pull a benchmark of your progress. While I was on the treadmill yesterday, I ran 4×400 with a 400 recovery. These 400′s were run at 7:15 pace. Needless to say, I have an extremely long way to go until I am hitting the paces I was a little over a year ago. My tempo runs were closer to 7:15, and now I am huffing and puffing for a 7:15 400. It’s all quite humbling, that’s for sure. Just remember – with hard work and dedication, you will get back to some speedy workouts.
Focus on Quality over Quantity
Is it better to do 8×400 and not hit a single mark you were looking to, or is it better to run half as many 400′s and hit every single repeat on the nose? The latter option is best, of course. Having a quality workout is far better than simply hammering out a bunch of mediocre repeats. Remember this – it’s important!
Distinguish the Difference Between Discomfort and True Pain
You know what I am talking about here. Workouts are not meant to be easy – that’s why they are called workouts, and not an easy run. You should be uncomfortable and breathing heavy, but not unable to breathe. Your muscles should feel tired and fatigued, but not stretched to the point of injury. We can push our bodies much further than we think, however, don’t forget to listen to your body if you do think something is awry.
Don’t Do Them Back to Back
Just like strength training, your body needs a day in between speed workouts to recover. Do one workout a week in the beginning, and then build up to two. From there, see what your body can handle. Do this very gradually to steer clear of over doing it and getting mentally and physically burnt out.