Training Tip Tuesday – Just do it!

Yeah, I know. Nike already tells you to do that. But you really do need to just get out there and just do it.

I think there is that fear among runners that they believe they’ll never get faster or improve. So they settle. They just go out there, get their few miles in a few times a week, and run the occasional local race for fun. And you know what? There is NOTHING wrong with that…if that is what you want to do.

But having now been in the running circles on social media, I have learned that more than half of those people don’t want that. They want to get faster. They want to improve. And I can tell you, it won’t happen by doing the same runs day in and day out.

Runner Academy

I’ve recently found Matt Johnson at Runner Academy and his brilliant podcast. I guess what I enjoy so much is the diversity of guests that appear on the show. They are all from different walks of life and have had different experiences. So, being able to listen to different points of view week after week can really broaden your running horizons.

I recently listened to a back episode featuring Julian Goater and the Art of Running Faster. It would seem, that yes. To run faster, you need to run faster! But you might think to yourself, “Yeah, sounds easy. But can I?”

Well, you might surprise yourself. If you wake up one day and think, “I’m gonna have a hell of a run today. I feel great!” then this would be the day to just do it. Anyone can get out there and run a short distance at 10% faster than their normal pace. If you are a 10:00 minute per mile runner, than 10% of that would be one minute faster. Even for just a quarter mile, you can do a 9:00 mile, then you can spend the next half mile recovering at an 11:00 minute per mile pace. Then, finish off at your regular pace. Just do it. Repeat this a few times. See what happens!


Today was a perfect example for me of how well this can work. Thanks to our regularly scheduled, upper mid-western, January blizzard, I was forced inside to run on the treadmill. Well, to be honest, I would have run outside, but my husband forbade me. He said visibilities and road conditions were hazardous. So, I abided, albeit reluctantly. However much I dread the treadmill some days, a small light bulb went off in my head that it would be a great day to try some speed work. I got some awesome sleep last night and was feeling tremendous this morning. This would be the day!

I started off at an easy pace for me, which is about a 11:00 pace and worked my way up to a 9:14 pace within a mile. After that, I increased to an 8:00 mile for a half mile, then a 7:04 pace for a half mile, and finally to a 6:19 pace for a half mile! No one was more surprised than I was that I could actually run that fast for a half mile. After that, I backed back down to the 9:14 mile and repeated the sequence. By the time I repeated it three times, I was close to 7 miles. And that final 6:19 half mile…trust me, I could feel…I wanted to quit, but I whooped it out and managed to keep my heart rate at a reasonable number throughout the entire run. (Here is a great treadmill pace converter.)

The trick is the recovery. You CAN run fast, but recover wisely. Do this workout once a week, and I’m sure you’ll notice that normal pace of yours will get faster. And before you know it, 10% of faster will be faster yet.

Do you see the pattern? Don’t let it scare you or don’t let your brain convince you that it isn’t possible. Because it is. Use your breathing as a guide and the recovery time as a reward. Find what works for you!

And when you get some downtime or if you like to listen to media while you run or workout, then check out Matt Johnson’s Runner Academy. There is some fascinating stuff out there. Just doing what you learn, or even just trying it, might make the difference in your running.

What is the one thing that you just did to make a difference in your running?


Disclaimer: These training tips are based on my opinion and what has worked for me. I am not a doctor, or a trainer, or a professional athlete. This blog purely represents observations I have made in my 4 years as a runner. Always consult a medical professional before beginning a running or workout program. I am not liable, either expressly or in an implied manner, nor claim any responsibility for any emotional or physical problems that may occur directly or indirectly from reading this blog.

4 Responses to Training Tip Tuesday – Just do it!

  1. Emerging Runner says:

    Pretty inspiring post. I am one of those who just gets out and does his miles, races but doesn’t invest in much speed work. I’m amping up for the trail relay and will take the treadmill interval methodology to heart when I’m stuck inside. It seems to be working for you and C…

  2. petitepacer says:

    Combine that Running Academy podcast with the Dr. Tim Noakes and his Central Governor Model ( I like to refer to it as the ‘governator’) podcast, and you’ve got the motivation to go out and crush those treadmill (or road or track) speed workouts. Awesome.

  3. This is really cool! I’m trying to get faster so I’ll definitely try it out. I’ve recently been doing a lot more strength training which I think has really helped in hill running!

  4. pugrunaholic says:

    I try to incorporate some speed workouts once a week or so. Just reading this, made me want to do a speed workout tonight haha.

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