Lacking leg speed is a bit frustrating. The heart rate is steady, the strength is there... but when you hit the gas, there is nothing to draw upon. It's just like driving my 1998 Honda Civic up a big hill, with a line of traffic behind me. I want the little lady to move a little quicker, but there is just nothing there... so what to do.
There is likely not much hope for the car. She is efficient (40mph highway) and that is great. But I am a human, and within certain limits there is room for adaptation. With this in mind, I set out on Friday evening for a number of hill repeats to gain a little power and ultimately efficiency in my running mechanics.
The run began with 15 minutes of puttering, gradually increasing heart rate until I was ready to begin the "work". I used "The Dragon Trail", which you may never have heard of because it is at my house but trust me, this is the place to run hill repeats. I set off up the ~600m gradual grade on crushed gravel and grass through a wooded area and emerge into a field of Fraser Fir. This marks the top of the hill... and the right turn brings me into the woods and onto Dragon Trail Proper.
This is a good recovery area, a few switch backs downhill. After 2 minutes the trail flattens and allows for 2 x 100m strides through green, moss-laden, fern full land... The path then turns twisty and technical again. Here you can again recover for a couple of minutes. The trail then dumps out to my front yard (literally) where stride(s) can be done before beginning the next hill repeat.
Basically, the workout went this way.
Hill, recover, stride x2, recover, stride x1... for an hour or about 8 loops...
The hill repeats were done slowly, with high knee lifts to emphasize power; raising the center of mass. The strides were smooth and flowing with the focus on speed without effort... using micro-movements... snappy, with a good lift in the girdle.
The workout was surprisingly effective at accomplishing good turnover and draining my energy over 60 minutes. I slept very well when all was said and done.
The next morning I went out for an easy 8. Splits were from 7:05 to 6:50 on the way out. I returned at 6:55s and then a 6:20 to finish up... feeling effortless on the 2nd 1/2 once I allowed the body to carry its momentum and stop fighting the motion with stress. Faster not harder.