Battling the Speed Work Demon

Every week, before a speed workout, I psyche myself out and procrastinate by reading blogs, responding to emails, catching up on nutrition News and/or tweeting up a storm.

Hm, that all sounds productive. Maybe I should psyche myself out more often?

Either way, this morning was no different. I saw those “1600m” repeats on the schedule and I just couldn’t get myself to GO. Pathetic. I did these three weeks ago and the legs survived. And we’re all still here! I took the day off yesterday, so my muscles are fresh. I wasn’t in a rush, since our morning event was rescheduled.

In other words, I had no excuses. Thankfully.


After a good two hours of busying myself (see above) and digesting breakfast, I finally headed out. I had a great run on Monday, so in hopes those vibes would return, I started nice ‘n easy.  Warm-up – 9:21.

I finally spotted a (not so) hidden water fountain at the local park, so I switched my location for this workout. I would soon find out it would’ve been easier to bring my water like last time (set it on a bench and sipped every mile), because as it turned out this park loop had a good incline (not so) hidden in mix. Dangit.

My failed in-the-head calculations led me to believe the loop would be ~0.75 miles, when in fact it was ~0.6. This meant I definitely had to go around twice, and that a little work on me, mentally. The first 1600 was on the way to the park (post-warm up), the next two were running in circles around it, and the fourth was on the way home (pre-cool down).

7:10 – 7:01 – 7:14 – 7:14

So much for consistency? By the fourth loop around that park I was ready to leave it behind and be DONE. One thing I did right: planning at least two of the repeats into the way there and back (i.e. not more loops). These were no easy feat, but as always, glad to have them done. Speed work always tends to leave me hungry for a little bit more….I decided to incorporate some sprints after my cool-down mile (totally defeating that “cool down” concept, I know)…

0.10 mi x 3 – 5:48, 5:48, 5:27*
*pace in min/mile, not time


Yes, I’m exhausted, in the best way.
Speed Work psyche out – consider the battle lost!

How do you get yourself ready for intimidating speed work?


P.S. For those of you who joined in the Goal Challenge (or want to join) – feel free to email me ( and/or post in the comments! We’ll get them up soon if you choose to participate 🙂



Filed under about me, distractions, following the schedule, running, Speed workouts, training

18 responses to “Battling the Speed Work Demon

  1. i always do the “listen to pump-up music” routine…works every time!

  2. Lacey

    you have an incredible “kick”- that last .1 is just out of this world!!! way to stick with it and battle the speeeeeeeed demons 🙂 agreed- it is good for us 🙂

  3. I *always* psuche myself out for big workouts. That’s one of the things I like most about morning running… wake up and out the door within half an hour or so, no time for procrastination!

    Awesome job on the repeats… strong splits, especially since you weren’t on a track. Got to love an incline at 7 MM pace! :S You rock!

  4. I LOVE speed work 🙂 I’m a freak, I know. Sadly I haven’t been hitting the track as much as I would have liked these last few weeks but when I do I always love it. That feeling of running so hard you’re going to puke? YES! Haha

  5. On a scale of 1 – 7, you get a 10. That’s frigging amazing.

    I pray all the way through speedwork. Dear Lord, please don’t let me die, please don’t let me puke, please don’t let me think about candy corn, please don’t let me fall. haa

  6. Yeah, H! Usually I just end up going and doing the workouts (they’re with my speed group) bc I feel like I need to be accountable to myself, my training and my running friends (and coach). Sometimes I think “oh, I’m too tired for speed tonight” or “Ugh, those hills are going to KILL my legs,” but eventually I just suck it up because I know I will be a better runner as a result of the speed work.

  7. Great job Heather!!

    “How do you get yourself ready for intimidating speed work? “

    I tell myself to suck it up. Once I start I’m fine, it’s the warm up miles when I question my sanity and in the cool down miles I am always happy with my effort.

  8. Dang girl that’s fast. All that quinoa and healthy eating must be working for you.

  9. ok this is exactly what I needed to read before my speedwork tomorrow. I definitely don’t like it and it’s mostly because I get all freaked out…and you are way faster than me!

  10. I want to participate but i cant think of a goal??? give me some examples people are sharring…

    maybe to stop drinking soda/pop or to stop swearing??? eating candy??

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