Earlier today, I blogged about some simple ways to cut down on your time and increase your speed.
Here's a sampling of one training program you could follow that would also increase your speed, although it's a little bit more hard core.
This five-week program is designed to help marathoners cut down on their half-marathon time.
Week one: Mon off (yay!); Tue 8 miles; Wed 10x800 meters at 10K pace (2-min recovery between efforts); Thu 9 miles; Fri 6 miles; Sat 9 miles; Sun 12 miles.
Week two: Mon 5 miles easy; Tue 6 miles; Wed 10 miles, last 4 at 10 seconds per mile quicker than goal pace (ie last 4 miles will really suck); Thu 5 miles; Fri 8 miles; Sat 9 miles, last 5 at goal pace; Sun 13 miles
Week three: Mon 4 miles easy; Tue 7 miles; Wed 3 to 4x3200 at goal pace (3-min recovery between efforts); Thu 5 miles; Fri 7 miles; Sat 9 miles; Sun 15 miles.
Week four: Mon off (finally!); Tue 7 miles; Wed 5K time trial with 3 mile warm-up and cool-down; Thu 7 miles; Fri 10 miles; Sat 8 miles; Sun 14 miles
Week five: Mon 5 miles easy; Tue 6 miles; Wed 10x400 meters at 5K pace, 1-min recovery time; Thu 6 miles; Fri 7 miles; Sat 9 miles last 5 at goal pace; Sun 13 miles.
Wow. That's intense. I think I'd rather try to speed up by taking off my iPod than following this hellish plan.
The no-duh comment is by the person who designed this plan, the head coach of the Boston Athletic Association. "This plan isn't easy... but you'll be prepared on race day if you follow it."
Easy? There's nothing easy about this.
In a way, things like this can easily discourage me. The person who follows this plan probably isn't trying to build himself up to a marathon, probably smashed my 2:14:50 time at my half-marathon and doesn't struggle to run sub-eight-minute miles.
But I try to just take some elements from things like this and utilize them. For me, running on a track would be nice, even if it were only every now and then. Also, the different types of speed work are enticing, albeit grueling.
In the end, though, I think I'll stick to my 11-minute-mile pace group in the Lopers. Speed is important, but not that important.