Getting Up to Speed

By Megan Cox

Now that my half-marathon training has gone big-time—as in, I am now getting down to serious business—it’s time to address something that is going to require a lot of hard work: speed training.

If I were to describe my body type it would be like this—average size head on a short body with legs that apparently suffered from too much coffee at an early age. Let’s just say I may be the poster child for stunted growth.

Anyway, if you’ve seen any competitive marathoners lately, the terms “short “and “squat” are probably not words you would assign to them. Long story short—speed isn’t in my genes. My family has always been more brains than brawn, which means we got picked last for sports but kicked butt in class!

Soooo, that means that whenever I put up a good run time, those short legs of mine are moving! My husband likes to say the difference between me and most competitive runners is the difference between a full-sized bicycle and a baby trike (this is said with much affection, of course).

Obviously, you realize which one I am. So when I get going, I resemble a character from one of those old-time cartoons—you know, the ones with coyotes, road runners, and explosives. They’re the cartoons where characters legs turned into an indistinguishable whirl as they ran. That’s me.

But no one can keep up an indistinguishable whirl for long, and lately, my fastest run speed still looks like a belabored jog. I know this because the YMCA has a huge mirror in which you can easily assess your faults and see your bright red face as you exercise. Not attractive, but I guess it can be effective in motivating a person to keep coming back!

Therefore, the next part of my journey is getting to a point where running at an indistinguishable whirl-type speed does not make me hyperventilate. Five years ago my average pace for the half marathon was a little over an 8-minute mile.

Right now I’m comfortable with a 10-minute mile and am really maxed out at a 9-minute mile. With a goal of 2 hours, I need to achieve a comfortable 9-minute pace throughout the race. Right now that seems to be a bit of stretch for me, but I think these little legs have it in them. Somewhere.

My next move is to look through speed workouts and see which ones can be fit into my already tight training schedule. Remember, as a mama of 2 tiny ones, my time is limited. I’ve got to pack what I can between naps, diaper changes, feedings, and watching Barney.

So, stay tuned. The search for speed has only just begun…

This is a guest post by Megan Cox, an Oklahoma City-based novelist, writer and contributing blogger for HalfMarathons.Net. Learn more about Megan at her website.

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