Benefits of Speed Training

Happy Hump Day!

First things first, I lost 2 more pounds at weigh in yesterday!! I went during the day rather than at night so that might have had something to do with it, but I’m down exactly 10 pounds from when I joined 4 weeks ago yesterday – December 14th. This means I reached my first weight loss goal – 5%! Based on my weight loss rewards list, this meant a new sports bra. It was supposed to be the Ta Ta Tamer, but I went to the store to try it on last week and it does not fit me AT ALL. So instead, I went to Target, and got all of this stuff for the same price as the Ta Ta Tamer would have been ($60):

  • A black long-sleeve half zip fleece (on clearance for $7.48)
  • A crazy patterned built in bra tank (on clearance for $7.48)
  • 6 pairs of sports socks ($4 and $5 for the sets of 3)
  • 2 high impact sports bras ($16.99 each)

They are the exact same bra – one white, one black, and seem super supportive. I jumped around in the fitting room a bit to make sure they would tolerate lots of movement and it seemed to hold me in pretty well. I wore it for this morning’s tempo run and it worked perfectly and was super supportive. I am a total sucker for bargain shopping and honestly am slightly glad the Ta Ta Tamer didn’t work for me because this is way more stuff for the same price! I love me a good deal.

Moving along, I’m going to go ahead and put this out there – I’m mostly writing this post for my own benefit. 🙂 I started off my day with a 30 minute tempo run – that’s two days in a row of morning workouts! Go me! 🙂

Speed training is really hard, so doing some research on the benefits is making me feel better about it. In my half marathon training plan, there are two types of speed training – tempo runs and 400 repeats. My plan involves one day of speed training each week that alternates between tempo runs and repeats.

Here is what each type means and the difference:

Tempo Runs are one form of speed training where you warm up for about a mile at an easy pace, and then gradually increase your pace until you are anywhere from 10 seconds to 30 seconds faster than your 5k pace, and then coming back down to cool down at your easy pace for at least a mile. It’s basically going a bit faster than you’re comfortable with. Some say you should work up to a pace you CAN run at, but don’t necessarily WANT to run at. Different places recommend different durations at the peak pace – some suggest 5-10 minutes, while Hal Higdon recommends just 1-2 minutes. In my training plan, the tempo runs start at 30 minutes, and work up to 45 minutes.

400 Repeats involve running 400 meter sprints (approximately a quarter mile), followed by equal distance of light jogging/walking to bring your heart rate down. My training plan starts with 5 400 repeats, and works up to 10 repeats the week before the race. This translates to 5 miles of intervals – eek.

So, if speed training is so hard, WHY do it?

The reason is that speed training has tons of benefits and if your goal is to increase your speed, you basically have to incorporate it in order to do so. Here’s a breakdown of the different benefits: (Source)

  • Calorie Burn – Running at a slower pace burns less calories than running at a faster pace (duh). So, since its nearly impossible to run at a faster pace for the entire duration of your run, even incorporating short bursts of faster running will increase your overall calorie burn for your workout.
  • Oxygen Capacity – Doing speed work increases the amount of oxygen you produce during a workout, and the amount of oxygen you produce directly correlates with how long you can workout at a higher intensity. So, overtime, you increase your ability to work out at a harder pace for a longer amount of time.
  • Fat Burning – Interval training improves your bodies ability to burn fat. More fat burn = weight loss, so if you’re looking to lose some weight and/or change up your work outs, interval training could be your solution.
  • Time Gains – It makes you faster over time. Basically, forcing yourself to run faster gets your body used to running at a faster pace, and helps you to shave minutes and seconds off your personal records.
  • Decrease Boredom – This is a personal addition to the list. If you’re anything like me and get bored on the treadmill, doing tempo runs/interval training helps me to avoid getting bored tremendously. Changing up the speed often helps me take my mind off the overall time or distance I’m running and forces me to focus more on the shorter term goal, like finishing the interval.

Speaking to the first point – calorie burn – yesterday’s workout was 30 minutes running steady at 6.0 mph and then walking for 5 minutes to cool down, followed by 5 minutes of stretching. I burned 404 calories. For today’s tempo run, I also ran 30 minutes, did 5 minutes of walking to cool down, and stretched for 5 minutes. I ran the first 10 minutes at 6.0 mph, then at 6.3 mph for 2 and a half minutes, then at 6.6 mph for 5 minutes, back to 6.3 for two and a half, and then 10 minutes at 6.0. So, 20 of those 30 minutes were run at the exact same speed as yesterday, with just 10 faster minutes worked in.

And I burned 437 calories, so 33 more than yesterday. While this is not a TON more, it will definitely add up over time and be an even bigger discrepancy with longer tempo runs.

So bottom line – speed training is essential since my goal is to get faster, plus there are lots of other benefits so if I am tempted to throw in the towel and give up on my goal of crushing my time from my first half marathon, I’ll focus on the calorie and fat burning portion of the program. 🙂

Are you a bargain shopper or prefer to pay for luxury? Also, do you do any speed work and/or interval training? Bargain shopper all the way. I do like to get nice things as gifts (and give nice things, too), but when buying for myself I just love to get a good deal. And with the running, even before I started following my training plan, I would do tempo runs without even knowing it. I tend to get really bored on the treadmill (which I know is common), so to keep myself entertained I would warm up for 10-15 minutes at 6.0, and then increase it by .1 each minute until I got to the peak of 7.0 mph, and then decrease it each minute until I was back at 6.0.

33 Comments on Benefits of Speed Training

  1. Katie Photiadis
    January 12, 2011 at 9:08 am (10 years ago)

    Beth, I am totally afraid of speed training because I’m worried that I would lose momentum and quit. Haha, the only way I can psych myself up for a run is to say, “Don’t worry you can go as slow as you want, as long as you finish X miles.” Haha.

    This is my way of saying how much I admire your speed training =) And as for bargain vs luxury, I’m kind of in between. It depends on the type of item. For clothes, I usually like to choose the more expensive item because it’ll usually look/ fit better. But for cooking supplies, I’m all about the bargains.

  2. Katie
    January 12, 2011 at 9:11 am (10 years ago)

    I really like how you showed the calorie difference which I agree can add up. I really want to add speed training into my running to get past that 10 minute mile threshold I have been stuck at for a while. Thanks!

  3. Sruthi
    January 12, 2011 at 9:15 am (10 years ago)

    Congrats on your weight loss! Right now I am at point where I know I can complete the distance, but the time I take to complete the distance is the issue, I am struggling to improve my speed.
    Bargain Vs Luxury, I am a complete bargain shopper when it comes to clothes, but in-case of food I am ready to spend any amount for high quality food.

  4. Liz
    January 12, 2011 at 9:18 am (10 years ago)

    I’m so happy for you that you are kicking so much ass on WW! You are really inspiring me to keep at it.
    I am either doing the tempo run today or tomorrow, so I’m excited to switch things up.

  5. happywhennothungry
    January 12, 2011 at 9:43 am (10 years ago)

    Wow congrats on losing 10 pounds! I’m glad you rewarded yourself too! I’m definitely a bargain shopper when it comes to workout clothing. I tend to rough my stuff up a bit, so buying expensive workout clothing isn’t practical for me. You can always find name-brand items for less at stores like Marshall’s or TJ Maxx too!

  6. IHeartVegetables
    January 12, 2011 at 10:12 am (10 years ago)

    Hahahaha I bought that exact same tanktop from target, except mine was blue!!! I LOVE target clearance racks, especially for work out gear! (Workout stuff can be SO expensive, and I want cute stuff but at the end of the day, I’m just going to get it all sweaty!!! haha) Super cute 🙂

  7. Emily
    January 12, 2011 at 10:14 am (10 years ago)

    I’m a lulu addict. But I also love a good bargain. Your picture makes me want to run to the closest target and scoop up some deals. Congrats on the weight loss! I think the reward system is such a stellar idea. I’m starting my own little 30 day challenge and planning to do some sort of milestone reward as I go.

  8. Theresa @ActiveEggplant
    January 12, 2011 at 10:20 am (10 years ago)

    Congratulations on reaching your first goal! And how fun that you’re following thru with your rewards – definitely a good motivator.
    I think I lean towards the luxury end of the spectrum too often! I hardly ever wait for something to go on sale & I don’t have the patience to sort through clearance racks or stores like Marshalls/Ross. When I’m in the mood to hunt though I do pretty well!
    I definitely go luxury when it comes to sports bras though. I’ve never tried any of the Lulu bras, but I’ve discovered the Enell brand and LOVE their bras! they’re U.G.L.Y but girl, they work! I’m pretty busty (D’s!) so I would get lots of chafing with “regular” sports bras. These things have been perfect – my posture has improved and no more chafing! Definitely worth the $60+ price tag. (Maybe someday I’ll fit into “regular” sports bras again!)

  9. Carly D. @ CarlyBananas
    January 12, 2011 at 10:20 am (10 years ago)

    Thanks for posting this, Beth! Speedwork kind of intimidates me but this is such a good breakdown & makes it seem more manageable!

  10. Ashleigh
    January 12, 2011 at 10:29 am (10 years ago)

    Congrats on 10% and getting your reward! I really need to sit down and get something together like that!!

    I love intervals because I always burn more calories, and I get some walking breaks in too.

    I am a bargain shopper for sure!! I buy everything from TJ maxx and Marshalls… the only time I shop at regular stores is when they have huge sales. There’s no need to pay full price for anything these days.

  11. Amy @ Second City Randomness
    January 12, 2011 at 10:39 am (10 years ago)

    I love Target’s fitness stuff. C9 is almost my exclusive wardrobe. And I sort of geeked out when they had a sale recently… :p

  12. Stephanie @ The Cookie Battle
    January 12, 2011 at 10:43 am (10 years ago)

    That’s awesome that you are doing so well on weight watchers, congratulations!

    I only do speed work when I’m training for something, I don’t usually do it when I’m just doing maintenance miles. I do like how it makes me feel though, like I’m accomplishing something.

  13. Catherine @ Life 2.0
    January 12, 2011 at 11:31 am (10 years ago)

    Congrats on your weight loss! That is so exciting, I hit my 1st goal before Christmas and am now +5 🙁 But, I made a plan and have weekly goals (inspired by you) so I am excited to get back on track!

    I am with Amy, I love Target workout gear! I think it is just as good as the expensive stuff and you get tons more!

    Keep up the good work, you are such an inspiration!

  14. Caitlin
    January 12, 2011 at 11:37 am (10 years ago)

    I’m definitely a bargain shopper! Unless it is something I REALLY want and feel I can’t live without, I’ll bargain shop until I find something different!

    I’ve been stuck running on the treadmill lately (because I’m a wimp in the cold weather) and speedwork helps me out of boredom too!

  15. Kylie @ A Hungry Spoon
    January 12, 2011 at 11:44 am (10 years ago)

    I’m all about the bargain-shopping! I love perusing Goodwill for stylish finds that don’t break the bank 🙂

    Thanks for the break-down on speed training benefits. I’ve been hearing lots about how great it is for the heart, but not many details on “why” until now! I do interval training with weights and cardio (e.g. lots of Jillian Michaels and Jackie Warner DVDs!). I love it 🙂

  16. Rebekah W.
    January 12, 2011 at 12:03 pm (10 years ago)

    I need your morning workout mojo…I will work out in the morning tomorrow!

  17. Morgan @ Becoming Rooks
    January 12, 2011 at 12:10 pm (10 years ago)

    I will bargain shop on most of my workout/running gear. Non-running stuff comes from Target and my running gear is mostly from Nike/Adidas/Under Armor outlet stores. I do put down the cash for a good sports bra though. I am waiting on my $60 Freya in the mail and I hope it’s worth every penny!

    Congrats on the loss and thank you for the speedwork tips!

  18. Lisa
    January 12, 2011 at 12:13 pm (10 years ago)

    I used to do speed work when I was running. I’d be so sore the next day after running intervals! Felt great though.

  19. Jennifer @ shesafitchick
    January 12, 2011 at 12:23 pm (10 years ago)

    You are seriously amazing!!! I am so proud of what you have accomplished and can’t wait to see you reach all of your goals!!! 🙂 LOVE the idea of your rewards at milestones too!

  20. Erin @ A Girl & Her Mutt
    January 12, 2011 at 12:44 pm (10 years ago)

    Good call on the purchases from Target! I love a girl who knows a bargain when she sees it. 🙂

    You should be so proud of yourself and meeting a goal!

  21. Rachel @ Fit Fun and Fabulous
    January 12, 2011 at 2:03 pm (10 years ago)

    I’d MUCH rather have all the stuff you got at Target as opposed to one bra from the other place. For sho.

  22. midgetkeeper
    January 12, 2011 at 2:19 pm (10 years ago)

    That bra looks awesome, wish we had a Target close by. Congrats on 10 pounds!

  23. Ang
    January 12, 2011 at 2:23 pm (10 years ago)

    I am a total bargain shopper. My husband is a very lucky man! I have no desire for high priced purses, jeans, or shoes. I am the person who loves to say I got this for $10 on clearance when people compliment something I’m wearing! lol I prefer to save my money for things like traveling.

  24. Gabrielle @ Weightless
    January 12, 2011 at 3:30 pm (10 years ago)

    I am such a bargain shopper, especially when it comes to my running clothes, since they wear out so quickly. have that pink Target top and that same Champion bra. I have run both my full marathons in that bra, and I agree they are super supportive!

  25. Katy
    January 12, 2011 at 4:15 pm (10 years ago)

    Speed training is difficult, but I did it at least 1 time a week while I was training for Disney. With my next half-marathon coming up at the end of February, I am doing a tempo run and a speed run every week…. I feel the need for speed. 😉

  26. whatkateiscooking
    January 12, 2011 at 10:32 pm (10 years ago)

    Thanks for the tips! I have a speedwork session planned for this week, and I hate doing it. Thanks for the reminder of why they work!

  27. Keltie
    January 12, 2011 at 11:06 pm (10 years ago)

    Thanks for the info on speed training. I am just starting to train for a half marathon, and was wondering how to incorporate speed training in;)

  28. Alycia [Fit n Fresh]
    January 12, 2011 at 11:15 pm (10 years ago)

    I’m definitely a bargain shopper – but I love good things as well. My compromise? Never pay full price for the good stuff! 😉

    I also check out TJ Maxx consistently and find awesome deals ($25 Nike capris? Yes please!)

  29. snackgirlgoeshealthy
    January 13, 2011 at 12:35 am (10 years ago)

    WOW! Congratulations on your weight loss! That’s incredible!!
    10 pounds is all I want to lose but unfortunatly I have a bad back so I cant run so that makes it extra hard to burn tons of calories. and I just love food.

  30. Evan Thomas
    January 13, 2011 at 1:21 pm (10 years ago)

    Great tips. I really *should* be doing more speed training, but I always get caught up by the “It’s hard!” reasoning. Maybe I can motivate myself to do it on the days I strength train.

  31. Monica
    January 13, 2011 at 8:11 pm (10 years ago)

    I have those bras from Target and they are my favorite! I use to only buy Nike bras, but was so impressed when I picked up one of those bras on a whim. They are awesome!

    I do lots of interval training with all my other activities, but am yet to try it with running and I am not quite sure why that is. I have done sprint training, but never intervals. Perhaps I should give it a shot with my next treadmill workout.

    And keep up the great work with WW! You are doing so awesome!


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