Posted by: Karen | January 24, 2007

Speedwork Unmasked

fakenose.jpg“Hills are speedwork in disguise” – Frank Shorter

I do believe the above to be true, however, sometimes you just have to do some honest-to-goodness 400m repeats. Tonight the RR 1/2 marathon group had 6 x 400m on the menu, so I tagged along.

After the warm-up we were reminded a couple of things about speed repeats:

  • Try and keep them at 85% of your max heart rate, or pretty close to a race pace.
  • NO TALKING. If you can talk, you’re not running hard enough. (oh yes, I’d almost forgotten that… why do leaders always look at me when they give that instruction?)

I had a BLAST! Running fast is so fun when you remember how to keep it going.

The second one was my worst-feeling one – I don’t think I’d let my heart rate come back down enough in between. Plus I did the 400 m in less than 1:30. Shocker – no wonder it nearly killed me!

I actually had to remind Tim not to talk during one of the first repeats. “Tim!” (gasp gasp) “Go faster, eh!” I kept the rest of my repeats under 2 minutes by 5-10 seconds and rather enjoyed splashing through the puddle towards the end. I consciously monitored my form  by leaning forward. I thought of running down stairs and tapping lightly with my feet as I flew along (I think Mark gave me that idea).

I worked on keeping my breathing steady as long as I could in each one, too. It felt great to breathe so deeply without a hilltop frowning back down at me.

The 400m stretch of mostly-dry sidewalk on which we ran had a wee rise towards the end of it, and we ran full on into the westerly Chinook wind. It was a good challenge. We cheered each other on as we walked back to the start each time.

Of course, there was a wee hill involved in tonight’s run, as per my New Year’s resolution. It involved the slight rise up from my neighbourhood to the store. Thank goodness it’s there – it made for a very enjoyable run back down to my home.



  1. 1:30?! Crap, that’s fast. And I love the new look. That Dawn really rocks.

  2. That’s awesome! You just reminded me how much I loved speedwork! We used to leapfrog… the whole clinic would run, then the last person would need to run fast enough to get to the front and set the pace. Then the next last person needs to run to get to the front and set the pace. It was a blast!!!

  3. You beat me to the quote I’m using for my next Monterey Herald article. It’s going to be about hill running.

    Your blog changes look great!


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