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.