There's no secret to running faster. Quality work = track, tempo, long runs, and races. The extra mileage thereafter is just a bonus but without these core efforts, you're left with a lot of junk miles with low dividends. That's not to say you can't race fast just off a good base but to run to your potential you have to include dynamic runs.
I have yet to focus purely on getting "fast" - all the trail runs, hikes, triathlon training, and skiing are good for cross training in small doses but the only way to run fast is... run fast! You won't maximize your workouts by always being on tired legs from other sports so I'm taking a block to give myself a chance to tap into the next level of speed I think I have.
This week I built back up to 50+ miles and next week will be around 60. More importantly I'll have hill work, an interval tempo, and a long run mixed in. I'll need to figure out how to continue building speed but still work towards ultra trail runs. I'm hoping that I can maintain the core work while also starting to put in big all day efforts. One week at a time and this was the first week I felt like things were starting to click again as a runner.
On Wednesday I had the opportunity to share my Direttissima experience with a the Hebron Academy student body (spaced the photos, maybe some will surface) as well as the Boston audience at the Arc'Teryx store. Thanks to Dustin Marshall for the pro photos.
Monday: 4.8mi on the trails then a hike up South Moat. Not very peppy the day after a hard tempo effort.
Tuesday: 10 x 400s. Well not exactly 400 but the neighborhood in Silver Lake is perfect for doing these repeats. Worked hard in the low 5:XX pace. Not as fast at the track but good to have the uneven surface as well as the company of Jim and Tristan to pull me along. 11 miles on the day so it was a lot for me at this point in my ramp up.
Wednesday: Hebron XC Trails, easy 5.6 miles.
Thursday: Tempo - the middle 4 miles of my 9 mile run to Run Strong class. Didn't have my watch but was likely in the low 6 min/mile pace. I was out of breath for ~25 minutes which was what I was looking for.
Friday: Albany Town Forest plus 5 miles on the Kanc. Tough keeping up with Jim in the trails, even at an "easy" pace. Still felt like work for me. We switched to the pavement and the false flat was still hard for an easy day. Wrapped up with 8.2 miles.
Saturday: Off. Spent the morning mountain biking and decided not to run in the afternoon. I think decisions like these are hard to appreciate but I didn't need miles and already got some work in on the bike.
Sunday: Really good long run. 14 miles with 1,500' of elevation and a few hard efforts in there. This was originally going to be a 10 mile run but things were feeling good and Jim was up for a few more miles too. It's interesting - this run alone is insignificant but in the context of the week it's exciting to be on the path to getting faster. Looking back to last year around this time I was in slightly better running shape but spreading myself thin with triathlon training.
And here's an edit I put together for the presentations last week. It really captures my summer with a tease of winter in there. Hoping to get out enough this year to put something similar together at the end of the summer.