Misadventures In Running Fast

Over the past year, on three separate occasions I’ve decided to start incorporating some speed work into my training regimen – nothing too crazy, just a couple of 400 meter efforts at a sub-5k-race-pace with a jog back to the start. I’ve tried incorporating these workouts into my training regimen three times, and I’m now 3-for-3 on getting hurt after the very first workout.

My latest attempt to incorporate speed workouts came two weeks ago on March 22, 2022. The plan was simple:

  • One easy mile with the dogs to warm up.
  • 1/4 mile (400 meter) efforts at increasing intensity. Not an all-out sprint, but a serious effort at moving fast.
  • After each interval, jog 1/4 mile (400 meters) back to the start and go again.
  • Complete four intervals for a total of 1 mile (1600 meters) and then cool down with a few minutes of easy jogging.

The workout went great.

My fastest interval was the last one and I ran a 5:37/mil pace. A great effort.
My intervals were increasingly fast with my last one coming in at a 5:37/mi pace on my fairly hilly road. That’s moving!

I felt ok when I finished. I did feel like I’d pulled my hamstring, but it didn’t seem like a major issue. I figured it’d be back to normal within 24 or 48 hours.

Well, it’s been two weeks, my right leg still hurts, and I’m really not sure what I did.

Over the past two weeks discomfort that started in my hamstring moved to my adductor and then over to my upper quad. Strangely, it only hurts when I’m running, actually decreases in intensity the longer I run, and stops hurting as soon as I stop running. It does seem to be getting better, albeit very very slowly. The fact that it feels better the longer I run, doesn’t hurt when I stop running, and is slowly getting better has allowed me to feel ok about continuing to run, albeit at a reduced volume and intensity for the time being.

I do have to say, after this third misadventure with running fast in the past year, I think I’m giving up on the idea of running fast quarter mile intervals.

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