4:10 am is early. It feels even earlier when you plan on doing a speed workout as your run.

My mind reasoned back and forth and decided that running later on my favorite paved trail was a better idea than attempting to run fast in the dark.

As the day wore on I was a bit upset with myself. My stomach was hurting, I didn’t feel particularly fast, and I wished my run was over.

Once Eric was home I headed to the trail, where I tried to talk myself out of any negative thoughts I was having.

Saucony Ruched Long Sleeve 1

My 1 mile warm up turned in to 2.

My 2 mile warm up turned in to 3.

Right before the 3 mile mark I had a serious mental battle with myself.

Just try to run 1 repeat and you can give up after that.

Why kill yourself – you aren’t a pro – you don’t HAVE to do speed work if you don’t want to.

Just run Dorothy – why are you quitting? even a less than stellar speed workout is still a workout.

This is a joke, you don’t like running fast, you like running long, not fast, long.

Dorothy – workouts are work and the point is not to PR in a workout, just shutup and run.

I hit lap.

5 mile repeats on a trail is not as easy as a track. I cursed that trail during the repeat part and wanted to lay down and rest to catch my breath during the 3 minutes of active rest {meaning you don’t stop – you keep running – just slower}

  • Repeat 1: 6:30 {followed by an emergency bathroom stop – it happens – it also made the rest a bit longer – hence the faster second repeat}
  • Repeat 2: 6:14
  • Repeat 3: 6:33
  • Repeat 4: 6:30
  • Repeat 5: 6:31

I plugged in the workout in to my watch for the first time ever. Who knew my watch could do such things? Note to self: Manuals exist for a reason

Warm up + Repeats + Active Rest + Cool Down = 11.25 miles {don’t like ending on a strange number but I was done – as in put a fork in me – I’m DONE}

Verdict. Speed work is NOT fun while in pain. Speed work is awesome when it’s FINISHED.

My new Saucony Ruched Long Sleeve was fantastic. I like wearing tighter clothing when attempting speed work – makes complete sense right?

Do you have a mental battle during speed work?

Saucony Ruched Long Sleeve 2


  1. Nice job on the repeats! I loved reading about your internal mental battle…those words sound so familiar. Good for you for overcoming the desire to skip the repeats! :)

    And I love that shirt. I might have to go get it…

  2. I think the quote “It’s not the mountain we conquer but ourselves” applies to runs just like these. Great job conquering! I did some speed yesterday morning for the first time in a long time, and running fast in the dark is weird.

  3. I battle with that voice in my head constantly. I wish he’d just shut up sometimes. I am capable of untold things when I find a way to shut him up.

  4. I have had the exact same conversation with myself. It is ALWAYS better after I’ve sucked it up and done the workout!

  5. Nice work getting it done! I’ve been focusing big time on trying to be positive about working out. I’m nursing a cranky hip flexor but have the go ahead to run. And so when I lament the early alarm, I tell myself that I’m lucky to run and that it will, in fact, no matter what, be a good run. It’s funny how the mental switch works. My runs have been as stellar as they can be with my hip and I think it’s because I have a good attitude.

    Love the shirt, too. I think I might *need* it.

  6. I did strides this morning, after battling a migraine for two days. Ironically, had some of my fastest ever times today, too. But I had to have that same mental battle to get out the door, then to keep going past two miles (if I can get past 2 miles, I’m usually good to go for the rest of the run). I admire the MILE repeats! I’m hurting on 30-second strides, LOL.

  7. I never know how to do repeats or tempo runs or anything and I have been running a long time. Can you help me understand this. I am so embarrassed. Does this mean you ran one mile at 630, then 615 and so on?

  8. Great job on the workout!! I attempted 3 mile repeats on the treadmill today and only made it through 2! Oh well…you win some and lose some I suppose! :)

  9. yes. i always get nervous before track workouts — maybe even moreso than a long run. i find it best to get it over with in the morning (4:10 a.m., haha) so it doesn’t hang over my head all day, you know?

  10. Speedwork is so tough for me! I have similar conversations with myself (at a much slower pace!).
    I love the new Saucony shirt, very cute.
    Karen @karenlovestorun

  11. “As the day wore on I was a bit upset with myself. My stomach was hurting, I didn’t feel particularly fast, and I wished my run was over.” – It’s as if I’m reading something I wrote! Sometimes when I’m struggling through a rough run I begin to get down on myself and let the thoughts fly about how other runners don’t experience this, etc …. BUT THEY DO! Thank you so much for documenting such honesty on here. You are such a does of encouragement!

  12. I agree with the mental toughness needed for speed or track workouts. Finding out when to push and go for that final burst is difficult as you’re maintaining a high pace already from the outset. Lately, though, it’s been the humid weather here in the south. I anticipate much better track sessions in October and November.

  13. Cute shirt!

    I love speed work – but only on the track. Intervals on the trail/road/treadmill feel significantly harder than they do on the track, so seriously great job on your repeats!

  14. The only speed work I do is usually on the treadmill, but I definitely have a mental battle with getting on the treadmill. I sometimes dread it and that’s before I’ve even pressed the “start” button. Those first few steps are always the hardest, but once a good song comes on, and I get in the groove, and the mental chatter calms down, it is go time. I love when that happens. :)

  15. Nice job getting it done! The mental aspect of running can be so tough sometimes. But I’m the total opposite, I love speed workouts but haaatteee long runs. I just want long runs to be over, but can go forever with speed workouts. I wish I liked long runs more!

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