One of the things I like the most about my speed training routine is that it's no longer on a track. I had previously always done it on a track, which is handy because you can keep tabs on how fast you're running each lap and make sure you're hitting your intended pace. Speed training, to me, has never been about running as fast as I can, but is about learning to maintain a high intensity. You will never sprint in a marathon, and if you can at the end, then maybe you didn't run your best race. But being able to push hard at the end? Hell yeah, that'll come into play.
So now my speed training days are a 3-mile loop over various terrain. No true hills, but definitely some inclines and declines, and even a few different surfaces. There's a little gravel, dirt, and sand thrown in, but it's still mostly asphalt and concrete, giving you a nice, firm surface to keep your speed, but the different surfaces here and there throw you a nice curveball, making sure you're ready for anything, even when you're pushing it.
I've got big things coming up (a second gauntlet is on the horizon; stay tuned for a run-down), and a lot of them involve ultra distances. But instead of increasing mileage, my point of emphasis for the next few weeks is going to be getting back down to race weight and building core strength. I'm doing a lot more exercises at home than I used to, or at least I'm a lot more consistent about it, and I think it's just barely starting to pay off. And, of course, getting back down to a competitive weight makes pushing my body up those hills a little easier.
For the next week, I'm staying with my family in Lake Tahoe. That brings up some interesting issues:
More flexible work schedule, can get a run in every day
Lots of hills to train on
Don't know the terrain here, no familiar routes, might not get "right" training in
Family around means LOTS of food - might (will likely) gain weight
No swimming pool
No free Google food... :(
Planning on doing a long run Saturday - less than 48 hours after arriving at altitude - and biking a lap of the lake on Sunday. Here's hoping the pros outweigh the cons.