That Elusive Speed

Speed?  Not that I was ever fast.  Cuz speed is relative.

What’s fast for me is slow for another runner.  And what’s slow for me is fast for another runner.

But I’ve realized that speed not fitness is the first to go when you are not training.

The last time, I ran a mile under 9 minute mile was mile one of the Run Off That Turkey 5k on November 29. (Mile 1 is always my fastest mile.)

Of course, that was following 10 weeks of being part of a running group.  A group where I was one of the slower runners so I was forced to run faster and where our coach made us do hill repeats and speed drills.

So I have done none of that since November and the result was NO SPEED!

I am thrilled that I PRed at my recent half marathon but since then even my race paces have gotten slower.

  • West Palm Beach Half – Jan 17 – 9:52 pace
  • WS #4 (15k) – Jan 25 – 10:08 pace
  • WS #5 (10 m) – Feb 1 – 10:16 pace

So I decided to do a little speed work on the treadmill.  Speed work for me was a minute at 10 min per mile pace (rather than my usual 13 minute pace) followed by a minute of walking, (Why does running on the treadmill feel so much faster to me than it really is? If I go faster, I feel like I am going to fly off the treadmill.) I repeated this a few times during my 3 mile workout.

The result was:

  • Polar Cap 4 miler – Feb 7 – 9:24 pace

No under 9 minute miles yet but at least a little bit of speed back.

It’s been said “if you want to run fast, you have to practice running fast.

So there may be some truth in that.

In this slushy snowy winter, it will be hard to run fast outside.  So I guess, it will be the treadmill if I want to do any speed work.

Here are some tips on running faster:

I am so looking forward to March when I start back with Patrick, the coach of the Freihofer training group.  I need to be pushed in order to do drills.

can I ever be a speedy rabbit?

On another note, according to a Runner’s World article, “healthy runners will race about two seconds per mile faster for every pound they lose.


So in the meantime, I could try and lose 5 lbs?!

Happy Running!  Do you do speed drills?  Are you content or do you want to run faster?




7 thoughts on “That Elusive Speed

  1. My speed is off too. I’ve seen this table and I’m trying so hard to lose 3 more pounds (I’ve lost 2 so far). I agree it helps to be pushed. I need that now. When I first started running, I saw a quote from a coach that said “to run fast you have to run fast”. My friend Kim and I say this ALL THE TIME!


  2. Well you know at this point i would happy just to run and I plan to do that very slowly when I start…however, I totally get the pace feeling off frustration.
    When I started training this past Sept. I was really bugged by how much my pace had dropped. Sometimes I can’t figure out how I even ran my PR 10K, at the time I was doing speed work on intervals and progression runs on the treadmill. I always run faster on the treadmill than I do outside, but it sure does help me to pick up the pace outside.
    Progressions a mile at a time really helped me make quite a jump, I don’t know if I will ever get there again but you never know.


    • I was out most of 2012 with injuries and and it took 2 years to get back to where I was. So frustrating but better than not running at all. You will get it back but be patient. It won’t come right away.


  3. I always want to run faster. Last summer and fall I was doing really well, but then I hurt my foot and had to take a bunch of time off. I’m just starting back up with speed drills again. I like them fine–they make treadmill miles go by faster!


  4. So, if I were to lose the weight that I need to lose…..I would possibly be a bit FASTER than the slowest turtle????LOL! Actually, this is just what I needed to REMIND me to stay the course with the diet!!


  5. I am starting to get back into speed drills again. For the marathon, I didn’t really care so much, but now that that’s over and done with, I need to push myself again.

    I have a moving target. First, I conquered all the distance. Now, it’s time to work on my pace. I don’t think runners are ever “content.”


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