On the agenda for Week 1 of marathon training: speed work that will make you dry heave

Even Google's autocorrect search knows runners dry (or wet) heave every once in a while

I’m in the first “official week” of marathon training and today (Aug. 4) the Gilbert’s Gazelles team I run with had speed work: A 1.5 mile “test” to check our fitness, and then 6 quarter-mile intervals.

I hate this drill, specifically the 1.5-mile portion, where we were to basically run at our 5k or faster pace. I like shorter intervals, like Yasso 800s or 1k intervals. But to run your 5k pace for more than a mile? In 80-degree temps with 80 percent humidity?


I wound up running the 1.5-mile interval in 9:13, which is right at a 6:12 min/mile pace. I was hurting at the end. A few dry heaves reminded me that I’m so out of shape. (Geez. It’s just Week 1 for marathon training and shit hurts already. Gah!)

Still, given everything that my legs have been through this year with my pelvis stress fracture, the 6:12 pace is just a few ticks per mile slower than my 5K personal record.

The quarter-mile intervals were much easier. I ran each of the first four under 1:30. I decided to make the fifth interval my last and ran it as hard as I could, finishing it in 1:17.

Of course, speed work on top of high mileage does the body all kinds of good if you are training for a marathon. Your lactic acid clearing systems get fine tuned. Your lungs and legs get stronger. Your V02max gets all V02maxy.

If I can throw in this type of speed work once a week and keep my weekly mileage in the 45 to 55 range, I should be in fine shape come marathon race day.

2 thoughts on “On the agenda for Week 1 of marathon training: speed work that will make you dry heave”

  1. Interesting… I was actually just researching speedwork and the different ways a runner can build speed. When I started, I probably consulted with 1 or 2 veteran runners about it and they had totally different ideas: one was about racking up the mileage, and the other was all about tempos.

    I read this Danish study recently that mentioned “long speed intervals” is the way to go. I might do a bit more digging since this is something that’s been bugging me, since I started running more consistently again.

    1. Well, from what I read, you get fast by doing speed work and logging lots of mileage.. Logging lots of miles (slowly) gets your mitochondria all ready on your working muscles, builds a good base and then the speed work polishes you off. But speed work alone will get you injured…. If you are not doing at least 25 to 30 miles a week, Id just concentrate on getting in the miles.

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