Speedwork Survival

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Today was my first day of speedwork per my Speedy 5K training plan.  Not going to lie – it was rough!  But I think it was so hard because I ran outside in “feels like” 97 degree weather.  Doh!


Here’s what my plan called for (400 meters = 0.25 mile; 800 meters = 0.5 mile):


  • 400 meter warm up
  • 4 sets of 800 meter sprints at 8:00-mile pace with 200 meter recovery jogs in between
  • 400 meter cool down


In order to remember what I had to do, I wrote it out on my arm before leaving:


It worked. 🙂


So – speedwork is really hard!  I completed the first two sprints with ease, but the third and fourth KILLED me (probably due to the heat) and I ended up taking walking breaks in the middle of each.  I tried not to get discouraged about my breaks because I knew I REALLY needed them.  Hopefully, my breaks will decrease over time!  I’m also going to experiment with shorter sprints and “ladder” sprints where I sprint varying distances over the workout.


If you want to get faster… anyone can do speedwork!  Whether your sprints are at a 10:00-mile pace or a 7:00-mile pace.  Just adjust the times and splits to your own preferences and goals – trust me, you WILL get speedier!  I used my Garmin 305 to help me track my distance and pace (it has a GPS inside the watch), but you can also run on a treadmill or track.


In the end, I completed:


  • Distance: 2.70 miles
  • Duration: 23:54
  • Mile 1: 8:35
  • Mile 2: 8:51
  • Mile 2 – 2.7: 6:28
  • Average Pace: 8:52
  • Fastest Pace: 6:44


I did feel REALLY accomplished when I got home!  It was a nice feeling.  🙂


Post-workout snack was cherry juice:


And then I drove to meet Ryan for dinner at our favorite vegan-friendly place, Infusion Tea.  Her new house is only 0.3 miles from the restaurant, and walking to IT from her place gave me a preview of what my new walkable lifestyle will be like in Charlotte!


I had the 1/2 pear and gorgonzola salad:


And a pesto panini sandwich:



It was as good as it looks!


I hung out with Ryan’s cute kitties for a while…


… And then I drove to Megan’s to hang out with her and Meghann!   Yes, I’m trying to see all my Orlando friends one last time before we leave!



Obviously, we drank beers and gossiped about life.  It was the perfect end to a very full day!


Megan twisted my arm into agreeing to run with her in the morning… I better get to bed! I hope I’m not too sore from speedwork to keep up.  🙂



  • Meredith @ An Epic Change June 22, 2010, 10:37 pm

    you can actually program those workouts into your Garmin if you have Garmin Connect installed on your computer, FYI. I’ve only ever done one of their pre-programmed ones, but I think there is a way to make up your own or at least edit and change a pre-existing one! happy running!

    • Caitlin June 22, 2010, 11:09 pm

      I need to figure this out!

      • haya June 23, 2010, 7:50 am

        if you’re just doing a standard set of intervals (like 4 sets of 800 with a 200RI), it’s super easy to just go into the “training” option in the menu and pick intervals.
        you can then select your interval distance or time and RI distance or time and if you want a warmup/cooldown or not.
        makes things mindless and easy! i always had so much more trouble trying to do the math in my head before i had my garmin.

        • Fit Chick in the City June 23, 2010, 9:00 am

          Thank you both for the info. on programming the Garmin. I’ll have to give it a try!

      • ActiveEggplant June 23, 2010, 10:34 am

        The programmed intervals on the 305 are GREAT! I use it for my interval workouts every time. It even gives you a series of warning beeps when you’re close to the end of your interval distance so you don’t have to keep looking at it to figure out when you can start your “rest”.

        It is pre-programmed for 1/4, 1/2 or mile intervals and rest periods but you can make “custom” ones too so you can do shorter/longer intervals. (And you can also make it intervals based on time rather than distance – very flexible!)

        Definitely a perfect tool!

  • Lauren (Clean Eats in the Dirty South) June 22, 2010, 10:37 pm

    cutest cat ever!!
    the more that i think about it, i realllly need to get me a garmin…

  • Cynthia (It All Changes) June 22, 2010, 10:38 pm

    Seeing friends one last time before leaving is always fun and hard at the same time. I’m glad you are getting to enjoy it.

  • Kaz June 22, 2010, 10:46 pm

    I’m glad you’re able to squeeze in time for your friends before you move. 😀

  • foodandfarm June 22, 2010, 10:51 pm

    wow that is a cool cat picture. the food looks so good and very well photographed!

  • Jessica @ Jessica Balances June 22, 2010, 10:52 pm

    Congrats on speedy running in such hot weather! Tennessee is experiencing “feels like” temps of 98-100, so I feel your pain… Running outside right now is TOUGH! So sad that you won’t be hanging out with your Orlando friends for a while 🙁 you all seem to get along so well and have tons in common. At least you can keep up with one another via blogging!

  • Marilou @ Mostly Healthy June 22, 2010, 10:52 pm

    Hehehe love that you wrote your training on your arm. Reminds me of a prank we used to do to drunk guys in college, and write random girls name with fake number on their arms … Mweheheh

  • Jamie Danielle June 22, 2010, 10:56 pm

    I’m sorry, but I’m new @ this website. How can I follow you?
    I don’t see the links like I used to follow others here on blogspot.

  • Wei-Wei June 22, 2010, 11:03 pm

    Woo, congrats on finishing your first day of your training plan! Man, it sounds hard 🙁 I love how you wrote on your arm, though 😉 Have a great night! 😀


  • Ellie June 22, 2010, 11:04 pm

    congrats on finishing your speed work- I’ve been running for years but I feel like seeing your speed work has reminded me I need to focus on things other than miles

  • MegaNerd June 22, 2010, 11:11 pm

    thanks for coming over tonight! Don’t forget to set your alarm!

  • Camille June 22, 2010, 11:13 pm

    Even though it was tough, your workout sounds super fun! Nice job!

  • Bec June 22, 2010, 11:17 pm

    Sounds like a great night, hope you have a great run in the AM!

  • Vaala June 22, 2010, 11:31 pm

    Speed work is hard…just be positive and encouraging to yourself. My coach often says to me that he’d rather I took a longer recovery if it meant I could put more into my sprint and that really helped my progress.

  • Carly @ Happy Healthy Foodie June 22, 2010, 11:47 pm

    That pear salad and sandwich look fantastic! Enjoy your AM run 🙂

  • Hillary [Nutrition Nut on the Run] June 22, 2010, 11:50 pm

    Leaving friends is so darn hard. Enjoy your run with Miss Meghann tomorrow. It won’t be the last…

  • Lisa (bakebikeblog) June 22, 2010, 11:51 pm

    What a great day!!! And awesome job on the speed work!!! You rock!

  • Heather (Heather's Dish) June 23, 2010, 12:29 am

    wow, i’m impressed you made it as far as you did in the speedwork workout! i would’ve died after the first 800 🙂

  • Amber K @ sparkpeople June 23, 2010, 12:30 am

    I am going to have to start doing some speedwork as well. I jog SOOOO slowly!

  • Jackie (Peaces of Earth) June 23, 2010, 1:01 am

    Awesome speedwork! I love that it’s so fast time wise, yet still intense. I’m excited to see your results. 🙂

  • Diana(mymarblerye) June 23, 2010, 1:05 am

    I’m at Disney world right now and I don’t know how you can run in this humidity… I can’t even breathe!

  • Amy @ Amy Starts To Run June 23, 2010, 1:18 am

    Man, way to get through your first workout in that heat! At least you got to eat a delicious dinner and hang out with good company as a reward!

  • Brandy @ Simply Fit Mama June 23, 2010, 2:27 am

    Okay, thanks for posting details about the speedwork. I keep reading about speedwork and how to improve time but feel like it’s a little confusing. But I’m going to give it a try once a week during one of my normal run times. Mix it up a bit. 🙂 I don’t have a garmin but I use Runkeeper on my iphone…wondering if I can program the meters….hmmm…

    Dinner looked yummy!

  • Freya @ Brit Chick Runs June 23, 2010, 2:45 am

    Ooh you make speedwork sound fun! The 6.44 fastest pace mus’ve been nice to see 😀

  • Vicky June 23, 2010, 4:48 am

    That pesto sandwich looks so good!

  • Lani June 23, 2010, 4:49 am

    Hey. I havent posted here before but I just thought I would comment on your taking breaks between sprints.

    Basically when you sprint you deplete your system so you have to take breaks between sprints otherwise you will burn out and your performance will go out the window. Crossfit Endurance has some great programming for intervals and the like. They always recommend taking breaks in between sprints (usually about the same time as it takes you to do the sprint). And their athletes are always coming out with some amazing results!

  • Jess June 23, 2010, 5:31 am

    Hey Caitlin,
    i was wondering why you write your plan on your arm, when you have a garmin forerunner 305? I always program my intervals into a workout via the training center, and I don’t have to remember anything, the garmin simply tells me what to do 🙂

    • Caitlin June 23, 2010, 6:58 am

      i don’t know how to program it into my garmin! i need to figure that out. LOL

  • Jessica @ How Sweet It Is June 23, 2010, 6:33 am

    I don’t know if I could ever work out in that kind of heat. I can’t do it when it’s 85 here!

  • Kath June 23, 2010, 7:02 am

    I will run you FAST when you get here next week 🙂

  • maxinthegym June 23, 2010, 7:11 am

    Congrats on completing your first interval workout 😀 They really really help you get so much faster.

  • Sarah (Running to Slow Things Down) June 23, 2010, 7:20 am

    That cat is adorable! What a cutie. 😀

    And I love that you write out your plans on your arm. I totally need to emulate this because I always forget what my plans were in the middle of a workout. 😉

  • Shannon June 23, 2010, 7:34 am

    Ohhhh, Oberon! We can’t get it in Boston and always have to drink our fill when we visit the in-laws in Michigan…

  • Tracey @ I'm Not Superhuman June 23, 2010, 8:05 am

    97 degrees? Yikes. I’m going to Orlando this weekend–must remember to pack light clothing. I’m thinking about melting just walking outside–never mind doing a tough workout like you just did.

  • Lindsay @ Summit Sandwiches June 23, 2010, 8:11 am

    I’m so impressed with your speedwork! I have such a hard time with it. I find it waaaay more mentally exhausting than a double digit mileage run. Keep it up, Caitlin!

  • Stacey@http://stacey-healthylife.blogspot.com/ June 23, 2010, 8:48 am

    That’s the sad part about moving, leaving all your good friends.

  • Cassie @ A Very Busy Mind June 23, 2010, 9:03 am

    aaaahahahaha your speedwork tattoo is awesome.

  • allison @ livingoneday June 23, 2010, 9:28 am

    ummm did you see healthy ashley at infusion tea?? hahah i love when my blogs collide. she ate their last night and had the same sandwich. IS IT WEIRD that i know this??? haha no?

    • Caitlin June 23, 2010, 9:31 am

      hahah we tried to meet up for dinner but i had to go 🙂

  • Kacy June 23, 2010, 9:37 am

    Speedwork scares me, but I know I need to work it into my marathon training. I think it will make me a stronger runner. I might use that workout in fact!

    Sounds like a great day with friends 🙂

  • Nicole June 23, 2010, 9:42 am

    I used to run the 800 in high school for track. It SUUUUCKED. I was in between a sprinter and distance runner-meaning I wasn’t awesome at either–so my coach thought the 800 would be a good race for me since it’s kind of in between. I used to get my ass kicked! Since you basically have to sprint the whole time, it’s hard to find the balance. I have nightmares from HS track for that reason! I have done 800s since, but on the treadmill since I still fear the track…lol
    Keep up the good work!!

  • Lauren June 23, 2010, 10:26 am

    This post made me shudder. I used to run cross-country, and speed workouts were always the WORST, albeit best for your training. We use to do “pyramids”, which is basically a ladder workout on crack. We would start at 400 meter sprints and go…400, 800, 1200, 1600, 1200, 800, 400…with a decrease in recovery time after each one (last recovery break was only 30 sec). Shu.dder. I’ve avoided speed workouts for a very long time now, but this post is kind of motivating me to incorporate it back in.
    Great work!!

  • Gracie (complicated day) June 23, 2010, 10:28 am

    I hope you find running buddies in your new neighborhood soon 🙂

  • RunToTheFinish June 23, 2010, 11:45 am

    ohh i am bad with 800’s, but definitely trying to work on my speed this year.

    good luck with your move

  • Erin @ A Girl and Her Mutt June 23, 2010, 12:11 pm

    Mmm…Oberon beer! Love it!

  • Marissa June 23, 2010, 12:47 pm

    Since I don’t have a Garmin, treadmill, or track easily accessible to me, I’ve actually used Mapquest to map and measure my runs! I always run the same loop now because I know all the landmarks that tell me the mileage, hahah.

  • Chelsea June 23, 2010, 1:31 pm

    Yeah for Oberon and Michigan beers. Your sandwich looks sooooo good!

  • Allie June 23, 2010, 7:29 pm

    Yay for Oberon! It’s one of my faves. Our dog is actually named after it…

  • Jocelyn June 23, 2010, 7:43 pm

    Hey just a tip. You can write your swimming workouts on a sticky note or any type of paper pre-work out then dip it in the water and stick it right to the edge of the pool wall above the water. You can read it through your workout and you don’t have to write all over your arm 🙂

    • Caitlin June 23, 2010, 7:49 pm

      I used to write them on papers and then put it in a ziploc bag but this is even easier!

  • Tammy June 25, 2010, 11:59 am

    Hey Caitlin…did you only do 400 meters warm up?! A good warm up is ESSENTIAL to speedwork to avoid injury! I know it’s hot and I’m sure you didn’t want to be out there in the heat for too long, but don’t short change your warm up 🙂

    • caitlin June 25, 2010, 12:16 pm

      how long do you think a warm up should be? i felt pretty good after that!

      • Tammy June 25, 2010, 5:34 pm

        Hope you don’t think I’m trying to be bossy! I’m prone to injury as well..Last year when I was training with a former Nike coach, he had me do at least a 10-15, sometimes 20 monute warm up at EASY pace, followed by light stretching and then the speedwork with a 5-10 minute cool down…I have also seen several articles that recommend at least a 10 min warm up. It really helped me prevent injury from “pulling something” because I wasn’t warmed-up yet…

        • caitlin June 25, 2010, 11:43 pm

          no i appreciate it! i will consider extending my warm up – thank you so much!

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