In the time it took me to run 400 meters, they’d finished 800 meters. Three times. Plus the introductions.

I was on the treadmill watching the men’s 800 meter semifinals on the Olympics the other night and, okay, so I wasn’t running my fastest. Still. I have to admit that it was a little defeating.

But, overall, the track and field events are inspiring. Just watch one race with Usain Bolt. I want to get faster. I want to push myself and see what I can do. So maybe it’s for some speed work.

But, what to do? Well, it depends on what you are training for, of course. Currently, I’m working toward a sub-1:50 half marathon at the end of October. When I trained for my 5K PR last spring, I used the Run Less Run Faster training plan, which has speed work days built in.

For the half marathon distance, things are a little different. I’ve built my own training plan based on several other plans I’ve used. I know my body, and I know if I do too much speed training, I will get hurt. So, I’m working in some 1,600-meter repeats on some weeks and progression runs on other weeks, as well as some tempo runs.

If you just said, “Huh?” See below:

Repeats: A repeat workout usually has your running a certain distance at top speed, or close to top speed, over and over again with short rest intervals in between. Repeat distances will vary depending on your goal race, of course. Some distance runners swear by Yasso 800s. Active has a great repeat workout for the Olympic triathlon distance. Many runners also incorporate hill repeats in their training plan. I have an iffy shin, therefore, I cannot.

Progression Runs: There are different types of progression runs, as explained in this article by In general, a progression run is when you start at one speed and progressively get faster throughout the run.

Tempo Runs: “What Exactly is a Tempo Run?” asks a headline on, and then explains it in great detail. Well, in short, it’s a run in which you hold a pace just slightly slower than your goal race pace for 20 or more minutes.

Any questions? Now, hit the track!