As I've mentioned in several posts, since my triathlon in June and the end of this years Y-Tri Training season, a couple girls and myself, who happen to live in close proximity and pace together perfectly, decided to create our own little running group to keep moving during the "off" season. Because this was such an organically created and organized group, I don't think any of us knew what to expect. Though we had discussed different goals and strategies... we ended up just running. At the time, that is exactly what all of us needed. Tri training had been so structured and serious and once the tri was over and summer was here, we all just needed a break and were mainly concerned with running off each of our individual lazy summer vacations.
Recently though, we have noticed our routine becoming a bit dull. We have pretty much plateaued in our distances, 6-9 miles (there is only so far you can run in the morning before work without having to wake up before 5am... at that's just not an option!). Plus there are only so many interesting routes you can map out, especially now since we no longer have the sunlight which allowed us to attempt different trail and park runs. So what can we do to mix it up? Well if we can't work on gaining distance, we could always try gaining speed. From the beginning, one of the best assets our group had was similar pacing. Nobody felt held back or left behind... it was all inclusive. At the same time, it probably has not encouraged us to push our pace. Adding speed training (fartleks, track workouts, hill repeats) would allow us to try something new, improve our speed, and exert as much if not more effort in a more compact time slot. Win win!
So now, for one of our running sessions each week, we will be doing some form of speed training instead. Our plan is to run down the to The Ellipse (just over a mile), complete 3-4 laps of 1 minute push, 2 minute recover, and then run just over a mile back up. It would total between 4.5 and 5 miles. Over time, our goal would be to increase push time and decrease recovery time. We'll probably alternate these fartleks with different forms of hill repeats every couple weeks to keep things fresh.
This is also specifically advantageous to me since I will need to add some form of speed/track training to my routine once I begin marathon training (beginning of Nov). This way I don't have to suffer through it alone. Plus, one of the best forms of motivation is trying to catch the girl ahead of you!