The Speedwork Game

January 24, 2012 · 45 comments

Dear Lazy Runner Alyssa,

If you want to PR in the Shamrock Half Marathon in March, you’re gonna need to step up your training.

Love, Motivated Runner Alyssa.

P.S. Sorry I haven’t been around much.

I don’t know what’s with me lately. Maybe it’s the fact that my gym is so freakin’ HOT right now (steamy. stuffy. can’t. breathe. hot).

Inquire within.

Or maybe it’s the cold temps and the dark sky at 5 p.m. that crush my dreams of an outdoor run every day.

Or maybe it’s my missing all my running buddies who no longer run post-marathon. Maybe it’s the fact that I am suddenly outrageously bored on the treadmill, while I actually used to prefer it.

I don’t know who or what I can blame, but I’ve been so over running lately. I’m just bored. I don’t have much motivation. I’d rather be crossing things off my to-do list, finishing Catching Fire (yes.. still reading), or napping. Or doing really, really productive things with my friends.

I’m mixing things up. I’m dedicating myself.

I’m officially declaring a mandatory (at least) once-a-week speedwork day for myself. I’ve been doing HIIT every once in a while, I’ve been doing some tempo runs, but I need to dedicate myself to getting faster if I want to reach those goals I’ve set for myself. And I need to make in somewhat interesting, because I am bored.

So, I invented a game for myself.

Well, probably not invented, because I’m sure others have done this before, but roll with me here, okay? I’m not trying to pretend like I’m a genius for dreaming up this masterpiece.

It’s a speedwork game to be completed on the treadmill or outside.

The Speedwork Playlist

I’ve interspersed some of my pump-up songs amid some up-tempo recovery songs. This is the way I do it: I give it my all for the “sprint” song, then I recover for the duration of the “recovery” songs in between.

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Note: the “sprint” is not an HIIT sprint – since you’ll be “sprinting” for 3-4 minutes, this should be an 80-85% sprint.

Your goal is to stay at this speed for the duration of the song, so you need to pace yourself while still pushing your body to go faster than a comfortable pace.

Your next goal is to not look like me, the sweaty beast with flapping band-aids from your dermatologist appointment the same day. Now, go get speedy.

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{ 31 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Dad January 24, 2012 at 3:06 pm

U R Amazing – that you can keep up this pace… proud of you.



2 LeeAnn January 24, 2012 at 3:33 pm

After I ran my first marathon in October, I was kind of over running for a while. I am planning on doing 2 big trail races (that happen to be in the same week) at the end of May/beginning of June…I recently looked at a calendar and realized I need to get my behind in gear and start running again!! But….my body totally appreciated the weights and lack of miles. Good luck with your speed training πŸ™‚
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3 Tina @ Best Body Fitness January 24, 2012 at 3:41 pm

I like doing the sprint intervals for songs like that. Much easier to keep up with and makes it fun.
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4 Brittany *Sparkles* January 24, 2012 at 3:47 pm

New music helps with the boredom but I agree – it’s so sad when it’s dark by 5pm!!! I cannot wait until ‘winter’ is over lol

And if other ppl aren’t sweaty beasts on their treadmills they’re just not working hard enough!
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5 Kelsey @readysetfeast January 24, 2012 at 4:07 pm

My gym has also been about 59045 degrees lately. Sunday I went to turn on the huge fan they have in there and got scolded by a woman who says the fan makes her sick so I couldn’t turn it on! Meanwhile, I was sweating the Pacific Ocean and I just said OK and hopped back on the treadmill and continued to slowly die. How miserable is it to run on the treadmill when it’s 2903 degrees in the gym?? The worst.
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6 Emilie @ Emilie's Enjoyables January 24, 2012 at 4:15 pm

I 100% feel you on the lack of motivation lately. I swear, I would rather do ANYTHING but run.


7 Theresa January 24, 2012 at 4:20 pm

im embarrassed to say i rarely incorporate speedwork..but i need to start πŸ™‚ there are definitely times when i really do not want to usually happens with the treadmill..and in the winter. i think being outside more often in nicer spring/fall weather motivates me alot more.
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8 Colleen @ The Lunchbox Diaries January 24, 2012 at 4:23 pm

I’m so over the treadmill, too! What the hell?? This VA winter needs to move on outta here and make way for spring.
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9 Pamela January 24, 2012 at 4:24 pm

Great idea, and good choice of songs. This would definitely make a treadmill workout more bearable!!
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10 Dorsa @ Running Thoughts January 24, 2012 at 4:36 pm

I blame it on the weather….. also my gym has been unreasonably hot too! get it together people!
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11 Marijke January 24, 2012 at 4:38 pm

This is a seriously good idea! And it’s a workout that you could complete on a treadmill, on a track or round the block if you don’t have access to the first 2! You are a shiny-haired genius!
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12 Jenn's Adventures January 24, 2012 at 4:48 pm

Nothing wrong with a little hiatus!! I am LOVING that playlist, too!! I mentioned you in my post today — I hope you stop by and maybe even join in on the fun! Check it out:



13 Kaelin January 24, 2012 at 4:53 pm

I feel you on the hot and steamy gym. My gym’s cardio room is like a sauna!

So I spied a couple of treadmills in the “circuit training” area of the gym WITH INDIVIDUAL FANS!!!! Glorious God, my run was amazing last night. I feel a tad bit guilty that I have no intentions of using any of the other circuit equipment, but its more like a guilty pleasure.

Good luck with finding your mojo back! The dark nights wear everyone down this time of year! You are not alone.


14 Karla @myhighonlife January 24, 2012 at 4:57 pm

Bomb playlist lady! Thanks for sharing. I get so so SO BORED on treadmills, I hate them but with the ice we’ve had the past few days I’ve been forced to use them instead of the new Garmin. You’re just in a funk and will get out of it. Happy Running πŸ™‚
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15 Kaitlin @4loveofcarrots January 24, 2012 at 5:08 pm

this is a really good idea that I need to do because I am getting so bored of the treadmill and my HIIT workouts aren’t doing it for me anymore!


16 Lindsay @ In Sweetness and In Health January 24, 2012 at 5:16 pm

YOU CAN DO IT :D. And I love the song “Church”…I also really love the song “All of the Above” by Maino and T-pain!
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17 chelsey @ clean eating chelsey January 24, 2012 at 5:52 pm

Fun! I like the idea of a sprint interval using songs – good job buttercup!
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18 Danielle January 24, 2012 at 6:33 pm

that is a really great workout idea!! I know the “sprint through the commercials” and such, but this is definitely fresh to me πŸ™‚
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19 Amber K January 24, 2012 at 7:06 pm

Man, why is your gym so hot? I think I would die just sitting in that heat, especially with everyone exercising around me, let alone actually trying to work out in it. I love the switching pace per song idea – would be great for those times when I was outside with nothing else to do!
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20 Bailey January 24, 2012 at 7:14 pm

You have just inspired me to go to the gym and run-recover-run-recover!! just the playlist i needed, your amazing for what u do and such an inspiration! i just wanna know what the heck you eat, food is the noose around my neck.


21 julie January 24, 2012 at 7:45 pm

ugh i’M STILL reading the mockingjay and i just need to finish..shouldnt i get paid to spend the day reading at work..
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22 Chels R. January 24, 2012 at 9:03 pm

haha that’s good stuff, way to mix it up. Not really a huge fan of the dreadmill either.

Love the “Church” song! It’s so crunk! πŸ™‚
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23 Rach January 24, 2012 at 9:55 pm

Great playlist!


24 Cait January 24, 2012 at 10:12 pm

Um you need Untouched by the veronicas on your list for a sprint song… it is such a speed song

^^ he inspires me to run fast during this song… watch the video and it will always remind u of his abs…
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25 Katie January 24, 2012 at 11:39 pm

Shut up. i love this.
Move here give me all your music and I’ll run next to you on the treadmill..until I can no longer breathe at which point I’ll stop to fan you.
Better plan here’s my interval workout
run for 5 minutes, fan alyssa for 1 minute, repeat.


26 Brittany @ GOtheXtraMile January 24, 2012 at 11:56 pm

I have been so unmotivated too! Every time I decide to go on the treadmill instead of outside I curse myself. It’s just not fun.


27 Jessica January 25, 2012 at 12:31 am

I am a new follower of your blog and am a military wife living in VB πŸ™‚ I hope you ran outside today – holy beautiful weather! It was so nice I couldn’t stop and 7 miles later I think my lab/deployment running buddy hated me. oops.


28 Sarah January 25, 2012 at 2:10 pm

Loving the playlist! Sometimes when I get bored with running I just take a few days off and then before I know I’m craving to get out there again!
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29 Tiff @ Love Sweat and Beers January 25, 2012 at 2:11 pm

I used to do that on the elliptical and stairclimber. Anything to make time go by a wee bit faster!
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30 Lena @Fit on the Rocks January 25, 2012 at 2:43 pm

That’s a great idea. I didn’t do much speedwork for my first half marathon coming up in 2 weeks since I just want to finish in a good mood and not dying, but I’ll definitely need to try that out for the next 2 races I have coming up shortly after.
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31 Callie January 25, 2012 at 7:11 pm

I’m in the same boat as you on the no running motivation…it’s so cold and dark by about 5pm that all I want to do it get in bed! So I workout in the morning instead, and I’ve just been reminding myself that change won’t come to my body unless I push it. This sprint/recovery workout sounds really good! I’ll have to try a version of my own.
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