I do almost no speedwork. Especially early in the season, my entire focus is on building some endurance—getting some daylight between my short runs and my long runs. Still, once I’ve been running for several weeks, I eventually reach the point where I feel like running faster, and at that point I figure some speedwork is in order.
I almost never run intervals. I was never a runner during high school or college, so I never had a coach coming up with interval workouts for me to do. That’s good, in that I never developed an aversion to them. But I also have no first-hand experience with them being a successful way to build speed.
My version of speedwork is what the running books call a “tempo run.” I run the same route that I’d use for an easy run, but instead of running at an easy pace, I run pretty hard.
I do my easy runs these days on the same 1.5 mile loop that was as far as I could run a few months ago. Back in March I was doing these runs in 18 or 19 minutes. In May I broke under 18 minutes. Yesterday, for the second time this month, I broke 17 minutes.
I actually clobbered 17 minutes, so I’m within striking distance of breaking 16 minutes, but I’m in no hurry to actually do so. I no longer think of being able to run fast as a capability that I’m striving to build. I just run because it’s fun. And when I think it’ll be fun to run fast, I run fast. (But, you know, not very fast.)