In case you haven’t seen or heard, the indoor American mile record almost went down last night. Galen Rupp, of the Nike OTC, appears to be working on his flat out speed this winter – running a modest 3:57 opener and then busting out a 3:50 mile. I believe Galen and Salazar are doing this early season fast-paced work to build confidence, work on top end speed, but also (and probably most importantly) to be able to run the last mile of a 5k or 10k as close to 4 minutes as possible. When you know you can run 3:50 for a mile, running 4:00-4:05 seems easy.
In my opinion, I believe more athletes are neglecting their speed work in favor of long, slow distance necessary for half and full marathon preparations. These races require plenty of threshold and tempo runs, yet to make these runs and races feel easy, a runner must not shy away from faster paced runs/workouts. Faster running will make marathon pace feel easier and it will also make you more efficient at slower paces – all things I’m sure any runner would be happy to know. So while aerobic capacity, stamina and strength are important for half and full marathon training, don’t get too far away from your speed work.
Below you’ll see Galen Rupp in Saturday’s mile race at the BU Terrier Invite.