I had a great speed work session today. After running eight miles yesterday I was surprisingly limber and ready to run this morning. I run a mile to the park and then run my interval on grass. I ran 8 x 220 today with about a 15-30 second recovery between each. 220 yards is the diagonal distance across the fields. I usually opt for a 440 distance, but this is working out for me. The last two intervals I run with no recovery. After my intervals I run back home. This workout will leave you with your tongue hanging out, but it is all part of the “overload” principal.
Running 5 times a week will make you a better runner, but if you want to become a faster runner, you have to occasionally run faster. This hits on another of the five principles, “specificity”. If you want to race faster, then practice running fast. Every fitness plan has these two principles.
I’ll run my next two interval sessions on a Tuesday and then race the 5k on the 4th of July. I am predicting that the last 4 interval sessions will produce a faster 5k time. Should be exciting.
So far this year I’ve run ten road races. I see a lot of the same faces at my runs. One of the things I am seeing a lot this year is the compressions socks worn by runners. They're graduated socks and are snug-fitting, over-the-calf socks (some of which start at the ankle) aimed at improving oxygen delivery to muscles, speeding lactic acid removal and stabilizing the lower leg for greater muscle efficiency.
The primary rationale behind wearing compression socks in a race is that they may enhance venous return to the heart through a more efficient calf muscle pump, leading to increased endurance capacity.
That sounds good but several studies have shown that there were no statistically significant differences in maximal oxygen consumption, heart rate or minute ventilation between treadmill runners who wore compression socks and those who did not. There is, however evidence to suggest that compression socks might speed recovery after a strenuous workout or a race. So for me, I would wear them after a race for recovery but probably not during a race. I may get a pair for post marathon recovery. I can see that compression socks would feel great after a long run of 18 miles or more.
Last but certainly not least, if you are a guy, wear black ones. The white over the calf socks look ridiculous.