Those 320 seconds on the treadmill felt like eternity. Painful. Very quickly I learned to appreciate the tolerance for pain the middle-distance runners have developed. Sustaining 95 percent heart rate on the borderline of puking was not pleasant. After a month of doing weekly speed work that included 10x400m sprint intervals, I can check off the first step of my experimental training plan. This plan is based on an assumption that in order to run the 26.2 faster, one needs to run 13.1 faster. To run half-marathon faster one needs to run 10k faster, etc.
Eventually you need to run one "unit" faster. This one unit for me is one mile. December was dedicated to training for 1 mile at 5 minutes and 20 seconds. January will be focused on trying to run 5k under 18 minutes. February is all about racing 10k in 37 minutes, March will target half-marathon in 1:21. In April most of my runs on Sunday will be at race pace around 4 minutes per km. Those times are shown in performance prediction tables for my (as usual overly optimistic) target 2:50 marathon in Ottawa in May. This approach is introducing a systemic intensity (some may say quality) into my training routine and follows one of the rules of running: "to run fast you must run fast". And that's what I need (and in large quantities) hoping that one day I will be able to break my PB set in Eugene back in April 2011.
Run strong and fast!