I called my brother last night to get some inspiration on a good speed/tempo workout. I could give you tons of workouts that are great for getting ready for a 5K-8K (from coaching for 5 years) but longer distance hard workouts are new to me. In the past, when training for marathons in 2008 and half marathons in 2010, I basically just ran a lot – I ran hard if I felt good, easy if I felt not good. I am seeking to train with more distinct purpose right now and to have 1 speed/tempo workout a week. I’m thinking/hoping this will help me achieve the PRs I am aiming for over the next few years.
He talked about “progressive” runs, which I have been reading about and seem to be spot on as far as target/specific training for longer races. A modified version is a “half workout” (I think he had a fancier name for it but I can’t remember!) Basically, you do your normal mid-week distance, and then add on half the distance at the end, shooting for half marathon pace (or somewhere between full and half pace). The purpose of workouts like this is to teach your body to run hard when tired.
So for me, 5 miles is a pretty standard mid-week distance. So I ran 5 miles at a normal pace – not too hard, not too easy. I then tacked on 2.5 miles with the goal of half marathon pace (7 min/miles). I was a bit slower (7:30/miles) but all in all it was good for my 1st attempt. And not bad to get a 7.5 mile run in mid week!