I have a plan. A running plan. An actual written schedule for my training runs.
I'm running four times a week: Tuesday, Wednesday, Friday, Sunday. Sunday is "long run" day, Tuesday and Friday are basically Time On Legs. And starting this week, Wednesday is "Speed Training" day.
I hesitate to use the word speed in relation to bipedal locomotion done by me.
The nice people at McMillan Running have a training pace calculator. They are nice people because while they want to sell training advice to "serious" runners, they don't mind giving some free stuff away to those who are strictly dabblers like myself. You put in a recent race time, an actual time over distance you've done at your current level of fitness. Then you put in a goal time. What comes out as a result is a table of paces for various types of training runs.
I find the McMillan paces useful for two reasons. It can help keep me from doing my Sunday long run too fast -- and that can keep me from getting injured. And it can also give me a mental boot in the butt to do my Wednesday run faster than I think I can.
Wednesday was scheduled as a 30 minute Tempo run. My "good" recent 5K time was 29:51, and my goal time for now is 28:30. (I'm old and slow, get over it.) So the Tempo pace range was 9:46 - 10:04 per mile. That is quite a bit faster than my Time On Legs runs. Nevertheless. I had to do it. Cry in the dojo, laugh on the battlefield, and all that. You know. If wishes were horses then beggars would ride -- well if wishes were training runs then couch potatoes would be improving their 5K times.
You plan the run, then you run the plan.
I did it. And met the pace goal. And had to fight my stupid brain which kept telling me I was gonna die, DIE! Take that, stupid brain!
Next Wednesday I only have to do 5 X 400M in something like 2:14 each. Only.
Progressing toward a post-surgery 5K PR at end of April.