Speedwork?!!! FUN?! I know you are thinking there is no way ever ever that this could be possible! Well, it’s possible and I almost want to keep this my secret especially if you will be at any of my future races and are in my age group, but since it’s the Holidays and all I guess I can share. Speedwork is actually fun when someone else makes up the workout, gives you coaching to help with pace and form, and my most important factor to make any exercise bearable is a fun and supportive group to suffer with! And all of this is $5!
Right here in Apex we have an amazing run coach Holly Kane. She is an RRCA certified coach and a great runner. In fact, no one loves running as much as Holly. She is a running “geek” in the best of ways. She reads all the articles we scroll by to get to the latest Buzzfeed video (love the one about the girls and puppies) and she applies that knowledge to herself and now luckily us. Holly offers private and group run coaching…and let me tell you she already has some success stories! I mentioned last week that Abby ran a 6:38 pace 8k. Guess what she does every week? Holly’s speedwork. I have another friend June who is coached by Holly and she just ran her fastest 1/2 marathon. Now full on run coaching may not be for everyone, but I can tell you we can all benefit from a carefully designed speed or hill workout every week. Check out this article about how Speedwork not only helps speed, but can help efficiency. Speedwork also has nice metabolic advantages (yeessss). Speed sessions give our bodies those heart rate fluctuations that our fat cells just love. Holly once told us as far as recovery treat a hard speed session like a 6-7 mile run! Sweet. (Holly also sends us the best muscle fueling recipes in her weekly emails because supposedly our bodies really like that kind of stuff too)😉
Let me run (haha) you through a typical Holly workout. First, we usually meet at two different locations in Apex. We rotate between Hunter Street Park for a flatter speed workout or Scott’s Mill for hills. Oh oops, did I not mention hills? More on that at the end because I think that is a specialty of Holly’s! Holly starts every workout with a dynamic warmup. If you aren’t doing a dynamic warmup before every run you really should. I’m not a rule follower in most things, but a dynamic warmup is something I must do these days. We start with a warmup run of up to a mile. This may seem like a long warmup, but the shorter the workout the longer the warmup. Then we do our dynamic exercises. These are things like bounds, hip openers, and lunges. This all takes a good 15 minutes. Now for the meat of the workout! Before Holly I thought Speedwork was running as fast as you could for as long as you could. This is not true (YAY!). If I’ve learned nothing else from Holly it’s that the change is made when we push and then recover. She also stresses that Speedwork should be short. The hard part of our workouts are only about 30 minutes and that’s not all hard running. For example last week we did a 30 minute workout of 1 minute hard and 1 minute easy. She explained that even a great runner would probably need to walk for the easy because that will give us the greatest benefit. Being someone who thinks more is better I would have jogged my recovery and sprinted the run and would have been layed out after 10 minutes. Following Holly’s advice I finished the full 30 minutes and felt great. I was tired for sure, but I felt successful. And that right there is what makes this fun and is Holly’s greatest strength as a coach. That’s also what makes this workout suitable for anyone at any stage in running. Really! Not to mention another strength of Holly’s is her knowledge about running form. She has made very slight and easy adjustments to my form that will hopefully help keep me off the bench. I think if I had her advice years ago I could have avoided some bad habits! So, back to the workout…we always end with about 4 minutes of core work. This is also an area I skimp on by myself so anything is much needed. Are you starting to see how this could be fun?!
If you need more convincing let me tell you about HILLS. Ok, so hills really aren’t fun ever. BUT, passing people on hills in a race because you have Holly’s secret hill running technique is pretty fun. Now, I doubt this technique is secret, but in all of my years of running no one has ever taught me how to run up a hill. Holly taught me how to take smaller steps and stay more upright up the hills and it’s been life changing. Hills are still hard, but I can get up them quicker and recover quicker. I will take it until someone invents shoes with motors😉
I know I’ve convinced you to join us for an awesome speed or hill workout! I forgot the best part is the group dynamic. There are all levels of ability and we are all working to get stronger. If you need more information send Holly an email at firstname.lastname@example.org. Classes are Tuesday 5:30 am or Thursday 9:30 am. Hope to see you there!