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Preparing for Shamrock Shuffle Training

I'm a bit less crabby today...not because it warmed up outside...because it actually got colder. I think it has something to do with the fact that it is FRIDAY. Whooohoooo!! Anyways, I did my 3 miles last night along with some lifting and stretching. So mission accomplished.

I'm preparing my schedule for my official Shamrock Shuffle training. Since I am an OCD chick...I like to live by a schedule. So I think I'm going to do Hal Higdon's Intermediate Schedule for an 8K. Which basically means I need HELP figuring out exactly how to do Tempo Runs and Speed Work from you experts out there.

I did a brief calculation of my training zones from McMillans website based on my half marathon time of 2:06 and came up with the following:

Long Runs: 10:39-11:39 pace per mile
Tempo Runs: 9:13-9:37 pace per mile
Tempo Intervals: 9:06-9:25 pace per mile

Two things about this. First of all...I always trained harder and faster than that pace during marathon training for my long runs, which is why I may have injured myself. Also, I have noticed that during my brief running career of about a year now...I NEVER really change my running pace. When I run on the treadmill I typically hit 6.0 and cruise at 10 minute miles. This is the same whether I'm doing a 3 miler or a 7 miler.

I think I need to learn that I need to train at different paces for the long runs. Can any of you help me out and provide some guidance on how to run speed workouts. Hal's Intermediate program calls for alternating tempo and speed workouts. I think I've got the tempo down...but I have issues with the speed training. It says to run a certain number of 400 m at 5K pace. How long should I walk/job in between each of these intervals?

Also...should I really be "busting balls" on the tempo intervals? Is it like an all out sprint? Because I can tell you that at 9 min/mile I'm not really sprinting.

Any and all help and guidance is appreciated!!! I'm just a tad clueless here and really want to improve my running capabilities this year!! Thanks so much guys!

I'm doing the Shamrock as well (not that it's THAT special I am because it seems everyone in Chicago does that race).

For the intervals, I would scratch all the zones, etc...what I do is that if I can answer after the last one, "Could I do one more?" Then I know I didn't go hard enough and go harder the next time.

Time yourself the first time you go as well so that you have a base number per interval to work off of. It'll come to you.

Same for the tempo, at least for me. I do the majority of my runs by "feel" not stats.

Tempo running is inherently different then interval training, you are working on 2 different systems. Tempo running improves your Lactic Threshold and Interval training improves your VO2 Max.

From what I understand LT runs and endurance work (running slower and longer) is more important for the longer distances (half mary and up). While VO2 will help you at the shorter distances when it comes to racing.

I think you are on the right track with McMillian. If you look at his chart you will find interval times for different distances, I use those times as target times. But I also run by feel like clyde noted. Interval work should be hard, heart pounding heavy breathing, "ball busting" work but keeping in mind how many you have left and always being able to hold good form, run them as hard as you can. If you feel your self getting sloppy and to tired to hold good form back it down a bit.

As for recovery the longer the interval the longer the recovery. I would think with 400's a 60 second slow jog in between would be plenty. Try to shorten them if you can it will help teach your body how to recover faster. 600's or 800's you could take 90 seconds and so on. You will get the hang of them once you do a few of the workouts.

Use the lap feature on your watch to keep track of your interval times. I have actually set up interval workouts in my Garmin and it will prompt you right through, it's easy! who needs a track!

You are right on in regards to training at the proper paces. I followed McMillians pacing schedule for Chicago and I finished within a minute of where his calculator told me I would. Amazing.

I will be in Chicago for the Shamrock Shuffle too. I plan to do very relaxed on the training myself. Hell, I did a 5K last June with little running (or no running to be exact!) and did very well. You can do it!

I am no expert, but I do love doing my intervals. I feel as if they really do help. With the help from Neese, I have been able to find what works for me. I like to warmup up with a slow jog for a 1/2-1 mile. Then I do 5 sets of 400 meter intervals at the fastest pace I can go for that amount of time, hoping to increase speed each time. I then walk 200 meters between each 400M sprint. I then like to cool down with a very slow 800meters.

I don't know much about Tempo runs, but would like to learn more and attempt them as well!

I am excited to see how your training goes! Keep us posted.

I guess I'm going to come off as kind of old school here, but I believe that a formal training plan is unnecessary for for an 8K race.  Nothing wrong with Hal Higdon, of course, and I'm sure it will lead you to success if you follow it.  But like Firefly, I believe this is the time of year to follow a relaxed training routine.

So my suggestions will not contain the words "interval," "tempo," "lactic," "threshhold," or "plan."  Save all that for the summertime.

Here's my plan:  (Ooops, I used one of my forbidden words!)

1.  Run 3-4 times per week.

2.  One weekly run should be your "long run."  For Shamrock training, you should never exceed 5 miles.

3.  Most importantly of all: cross train!  Ride the bike, use the eliptical, go for a swim, climb the assmaster (some people call it the StairMaster), or just take a long walk.  Gotta work those other muscles.

4.  Don't forget 1-2 days per week or pure rest.  No exercise, no planning, no nuttin'.  Sit on the sofa with a pint of B&J and some bad TV.  Or meet some friends in the bar for "beer intervals."  Rest days are as imporant as anything else you do.

There, that's the Full Metal Lunchbox Shamrock Shuffle Training Plan.  Hope it helps.

Try to check out http://www.runnersworld.com/

look for the "smartcoach" feature. You plug in the type of race and it will give you a plan. Interval speed and stuff like that.

Pretty good for a general idea. Plus its free.

I had a long response written here and I lost it somehow. Anyway, best of luck here, Tara. i agree, I don't think you should burden yourself too much with planning speed work and tempo's for an 8k. This is not marathon training, after all. I feel that for an 8k, you should focus on steady general aerobic mileage and some simple fast finishes on weekend runs. Plan for 5 runs per week, making your weekend run between 4-6 miles. Target 20-25 miles per week at least. Hit ALL of your runs. Also, take a midweek shorter run (3-4 miles) and make it a recovery pace. Do this for 8 weeks and you will run a solid 8k. Key for me is simple and steady mileage. The speed work and tempo runs will make a huge difference for you when you go for Chicago later this year. Best of luck!

Sounds like good advice from the other speed racers. Good thing **they** know what they are doing!

I'm doing the same plan so maybe we can help each other through the fancy runs as I like to call them!

"Fancy runs."  I like that.

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About me

  • I'm Tara
  • From Chicago Suburbs, IL
  • Still feeling defeated by my injury that prevented me from running the Chicago Marathon this year, I've decided to refocus!The new focus of my life and this blog is to train and prepare for TWO half marathons next year. I'm also *DREAMING* about gearing up for a triathlons, but have no bike right now. :)
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