There's always talk out there of weather you should incorporate speedwork into your training or just leave it out all together. We all know of the guys who have success both ways, we've got a bunch on the front range running on the track and a bunch who don't. I guess my opinion (a rather uneducated one at that) is that speedwork in moderation can't hurt. My goal for the year is to develop a strong base (getting there) and then consistently add quality workouts to my routine to peak in August. That said I'd basically not done any kind of structured speedwork since last spring or summer, so a few weeks ago I dabbled my toe in adding some.
I basically came up with the idea that I'd do one shorter session (repeats/tempo) on Wednesday and one longer but less intense session on Sunday. Let's just say I haven't been setting any records with my speed and I won't be out winning any 5K's soon. Last week I ran a pretty controlled 5M tempo at 6:25mpm (insert chuckle), and today's was a bit more work at 6:13 mpm. Some of the initial benefits I'm seeing other then the relative feel of my easy days feeling slower while at the same pace is that there is a certain mental toughness to finish out that last mile to mile and a half of the 5M tempo. No one is watching me, and no one will follow up with me tomorrow to make sure I did it. Mental strength is the ultimate X factor in ultrarunning, the more you practice, the easier it gets.
The reason I've been doing this speedwork is that I have a few races (one in less than 2 weeks) that require me to run significantly faster than in a typical Colorado style mountain ultra. Cheyenne Canyon will likely be fast and I want to be able to push towards the CR at Big Horn (found that the course is a few miles long which means the low 4 time is more stout than originally believed). There is an additional race I may take on that could require some turnover and then there's Leadville. Leadville is a runner's course no doubt, so the greater my ability to run, the greater my ability to do well (at least that's my approach). I am not planning on being a mountain beater at LT, but I want to really be able to handle everything between Twin and Harrison.
Any interest in an over under for CC50K??? I'm thinking of a number now.