Speedwork for Dummies……

Let’s be honest, I don’t think any of you are dumb but I do think that things get too technical for the “everyday” runner.  I’m an everyday runner, who would like to increase my everyday pace.  I don’t want to contemplate  terminology that is ambiguous, I mean does anyone really understand the term tempo run?  I don’t.  I run a variety of paces.  Therefore, I don’t know how to calculate my “tempo pace”.  Do I use a tempo pace based on what I’d like to run?  Or what I might run?  Or what I am currently running?   Or what I ran last year?  Really, what the hell is a tempo run?  Don’t tell me, I don’t even want to know.

I also don’t want a speed workout that is so scary that I will make excuses not be able to fit it into my life.  I like to K.I.S.S.  I also like to keep it short and sweet.  I’m going to work really hard……but it won’t last long!  Okay, I can do this and so can you! 


I will outline my basic/beginner speed routine that I’ve been using on my treadmill.  Yes, I actually bought a treadmill (see the stock photo below).  Yes, I bought a treadmill just for speedwork.  Why?  I do all my speedwork at 4am, when the track and gym are both sleeping closed. 

NordicTrack 1750:image

I know that most would prefer to run outside but the bottom line is that you can’t cheat the treadmill.  Not even if you want to, so run, or get thrown off the back.  Totally up to you.  In fact, maybe you should attach the dorky safety cord like I do.  Now proceed with caution and please, adjust the speed to fit your current fitness level cuz I can’t help you if you hurt yourself, I’ll just send you to Dr. Alexis.


  • Warm Up – Dynamic Stretching, then I start walking at 4 mph (15:00 min/mile pace)
  • Walk for 2.5 minutes
  • Slow Jog for 2.5 minutes (Recovery Pace – 6 mph – 10:00 pace)
  • 1 minute interval – 7 mph – 8:34 pace
  • 1 minute recovery – 6 mph – 10:00 pace
  • 1 minute interval – 8 mph – 7:30 pace
  • 1 minute recovery
  • Repeat 7:30 interval/recovery
  • 1 minute interval – 9 mph – 6:40 pace
  • 1 minute recovery
  • Repeat 6:40 interval/recovery x10
  • Cool Down – walk/jog/static stretching/foam rolling

When you start, you might not be able to do 10 intervals at your desired pace.  Don’t worry about that.  This is a process.  A process of getting stronger and faster.  You also want to ease your body into running outside the comfort zone because you want to be safe and not hurt yourself.  So the first time, target 5 intervals.  If you feel like you are going to die before you finish that 5th one, you did it right.  If you feel like you could run a lot more, then you are went too slow.  Either do a few extra intervals or readjust your plan for the next speed session.  You want to push your limits while still being in control.  The 6:40 pace for me is barely in control.  I can barely hold it for 1 minute so yes, I use the safety cord.  The first speed workout, I only did 3 at the 6:40  pace.  Then next workout I did 5 at that pace, last time I did 8, and this morning I did 10.  I will hold here for a few weeks, then start holding the intervals longer.  Its a building process.  I want to build while still being in control and not hurting myself.  If it takes me longer to get where I’m going then fine.   In fact, I’m not even sure where I’m going but I’m going to get there faster…..eventually.  🙂

** Happy Running ** Amanda – TooTallFritz ** amanda@tootallfritz.com

Reset on Speed…….

This week should be my 3rd week of speed sessions.  The goal is to get back to running 22 minute, or faster, 5Ks.  After the long miserable stint with Plantar Fasciitis, I lost a lot of speed.  The initial plan was to do 2 speed sessions per week in an attempt to boost performance for the Warm Your Heart Indoor 5K at McCormick Place at the end of the month.  However, it hasn’t worked out that way.

  • Week 1, 10x200m – CHECK
  • Week 2 – Session 1 – Sick baby – Didn’t happen
  • Week 2 – Session 2 – Should have been 6x800m but I couldn’t hang so I limped thru greatly modified the session to a sub par workout.
  • Week 3 – Session 1 – Didn’t happen – Late/Hard run night before and I wasn’t recovered.

So today was Week 3 – Session 2 and as I looked back over the folly I called “speed” work, I decided that I need to push the reset button and start over. 

At the beginning.  Fresh.  At a point where I had the confidence I could nail the workout and move forward. 

So back to the 10×200 I went.  I’m a sprinter at heart and that works well for me and fits well into the middle of my workday.  I can hang, no matter what.  And I did.  Great workout.  Not easy but I made it.  Success!  Now let’s see what next week will bring.

I also managed to grab a half hour on the bike today.  Not exactly what most people would call a “brick” but it’s about a close as my schedule will allow.  I also need time in the saddle to get used to riding again since I don’t ride with a chamois before spring comes and I roll her out for some real miles.  I know it’s as exciting to see me on my bike, on the trainer, in the same spot in my dining room gym as it is for me to ride there but alas, here I am:  I was very excited that my new Athleta Relay Capris came today!

I had ordered these in the fall and they were back ordered til December 15th so I canceled the order but I recently caved ordered them again, in the only color that was available for immediate shipment…..blue.  They are awesome!  They fit perfectly, are long enough (I did order the long), have a small zip pocket in the back, don’t move and feel like butter.  Nice!  I find myself with very few capri tights and will definitely order these in the other colors and wait for the backorder to ship.  Aby wants a pair too.  I can’t even tell which are my running clothes/shoes/socks/sunglasses, etc. now because she is creeping up on me in size and then she wants the same things I have so we have doubles of everything.  And it all looks the same.  And it’s not cheap buying my 10 year old clothes from Athleta & RunningSkirts.com, they should have a half price racks for kids.

“Run”Way Fashion:  The Athleta Relay Capris (above), and both workouts were in Tek Gear performance tops.  I purchased the Tek Gear at Kohl’s on a super sale, last season.  The shirts are cute, have nice material, have a small pocket in the back and I think worth the money, especially on sale.  I bought the white (above) and this green one: 

Do you buy any technical gear at bargain prices?  Any good bargain brands you can share with us?

Happy Running!                                                                                                                   Amanda – TooTallFritz