Getting Faster

It was nice pretending this was a vacation blog for awhile, but it’s time to get back to some running stuff mmkay? I’m taking some time off for the next two months before marathon training starts, so the most I’m running are three milers. Nothing really to report there. But a bunch of you asked what I did differently to PR my last three races since I’ve been so good about not PRing crap for three years. So I thought I’d share my deep, dark secrets.

Oh, and when I say a bunch of you asked, I mean one.


I didn’t follow a plan, I just changed a few things that I thought could use improvement. I all but gave up on PRs, so I didn’t really expect these things to work. In any case, here they are:

1. I ran outside more and on the treadmill less.

I know a lot of you hate the treadmill but I love it. I like AC and I like nearby toilets to poop in and I like TVs in front of my face. So as much as I hate running outside, I swapped one (sometimes two) treadmill runs a week for an outside run. Not for speed. Just for more outside running.

2. I added one tempo run a week – on the treadmill.

My speed runs were sporadic at best so I made sure I did one  a week. I ran all my tempos on the treadmill so I could keep my pace consistent. I ran one warm-up mile (always a 10:00 pace) and three miles at a faster pace (usually a 8:50). I picked a faster pace that was challenging but not so hard that I needed to walk. Some weeks it was easy and others I could barely make it though.

3. I was uncomfortable during all three races.

None of the races were easy, even at the beginning. I feel like, in order for me to PR a race, I’m going to hate the during part. I know it’s not like that for everyone. Some people feel omg amazing the entire time. Some people can’t believe they magically got so fast when they were just running the race “for fun.” That’s not me. I’m putting in a lot of effort the entire time and it sucks until I cross the finish line and see my finish time. And then it’s amazing.


I did the first two things for two months and it worked somehow. Not really crazy or complicated, which I like, so I’ll make sure to add it to my training plan for Chicago.


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13 responses to “Getting Faster

  1. I also (personally) feel like you felt more confident these past few races. I think you’ve always had the ability and speed – but the confidence you’ve gained from the tempo runs has helped you immensely. #deepthoughtsfromyourbestestrunningbuddy

    • Paula

      Hee! Yes, I did think I was going to kill those last two races which is soooo unlike me. I’m keeping up this tempo run business and maybe I won’t get slower this time around. 4:30 here I come?

  2. Before I injured myself, adding in hills, tempo and intervals run instead of running to run during the week helped my speed so much. I was surprised that I was getting faster and not slower during marathon training. Now if only I could run again!

    • Paula

      I got slower during my last marathon training. Definitely don’t want that to happen this time! I’m so bummed you’re not going to run your marathon. I can only imagine how you feel. Maybe a miracle will happen between now and the 1st?

  3. I need to start adding some speed work. In fact, today is a speed work day, and I’m somehow managing to distract myself from running in every way possible. Why can’t I just be slow and happy?

    • Paula

      That’s what I want to be too! I’d also like to be fat and happy. Fat, slow, and happy. All those things sound wonderful.

  4. kathleen

    I too, love the treadmill. The main reason being I can’t trip over any sticks/ leaves/ bugs/ pebbles/ sidewalk cracks…etc while running. A super close second is that I can watch my kindle aka Veronica Mars aka what YOU personally sucked me into with your multiple blog posts about how great it is. Yes, it is great. I am almost done with season 3 and I do not know how I’m going to feel when it’s over. Probably depressed. I’m going to have to buy the movie.

    • kathleen

      wow that little picture next to my name is horrifying.

    • Paula

      At least you didn’t have to wait seven years between the series and the movie, so I have eliminated seven years of anger and sadness from your life. You are welcome. 🙂

  5. I think I was one of the few requestors. I noticed I’ve picked up some speed doing sprint drills (up to 1/4 mile at a time). I know I’d get better if I was doing something for miles like you’ve been doing, but I’m just not mentally there yet I guess. Also, I have the same trouble with some weeks I feel like I’m flying easily by on fairy dust and others I want to kill myself at 0.10 of a mile.

    Were you letting yourself run at whatever was a comfortable pace outside? Or trying to push closer to tempo? I actually enjoy the treadmill for the express purpose that there’s no way for me to avoid running at that faster pace other than to fall off. I find it easier to phone it in outside.

    • Paula

      Yes, just a comfortable pace outside. I would speed up toward the end just to get it over with so I usually ended up with a decent pace – closer to race pace than tempo pace.

  6. I’ve had some PRs where it was OMG SO EASY WHO KNEW THAT WOULD HAPPEN? And others where I wanted to die from the first second and hated every single moment. You never know. I used to hate the treadmill and now I love it so much I would marry it if I could. We switched.

  7. Glad those things worked out for you! Way to go missy!!

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