I'm training to run a 45-minute 10k but I'm finding it difficult to improve my speed while following the "rules of the road". I'm hydrating properly, I'm incorporating interval training once a week, and I'm running fartleks within my daily runs, but as the posted speed limit through a portion of my favorite running route is only 5 miles per hour, I'm having to hold back! How can I improve my speed while at the same time observing the posted speed limit? - Law Abiding Runner
While I appreciate your unyielding honesty when it comes to respect for the law, it is my sworn duty as the official "mailbag" responder of Run The Planet to advise you against strict adherence to all laws, both of the State and nature, when it comes to speed training.
The old adage "Rules were meant to be broken" applies here. To run a distance of 10,000 meters in 45 minutes is to run at a velocity of 8.29 miles per hour, a full 3.29 miles per hour faster than a posted 5 mile per hour legal limit.
Although they vary from country to country and state to state, the laws governing adherence to posted speed limits are quite clear. Chapter 90, section 17 of the General Laws of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts state: "No person operating a motor vehicle on any way shall run it at a rate of speed greater than is reasonable and proper". Clearly, while unstated on the posted speed limit signs you are passing during your training runs, the law makes provisions for "motor vehicles" only.
But some might argue that the human body is an incredibly complex machine, capable of miraculous achievements and (in the case of many well trained athletes) incredible speeds. And if we are "running machines" exercising those finely tuned motor skills in our quest for a road race personal record, then we might at least consider your caution as it relates to the law.
Now, I'm no lawyer, and I'm rarely capable of winning logical arguments with my 8-year-old son, but I do claim to know the difference between a human motor and a motor vehicle. In the words of the immortal 1988 vice-presidential candidate Lloyd Bentsen: "Senator, I served with motor vehicles. I knew motor vehicles. A motor vehicle was a friend of mine. Senator, you're no motor vehicle".
I urge and insist that you free yourself from your self-imposed restraint in legal on-road compliance. The only possible exception I can think of would be in those rare instances where, during your training runs, you somehow found yourself carrying another person, whether in your arms or on your back, which might technically designate you as a passenger carrying vehicle. If under those conditions, the 5 mile per hour speed barrier becomes a limiting factor to your forward velocity, then I'd recommend you tailor your training more towards hill training.
Based on such abilities, I'm guessing Mount Everest would be a good place to start.
Run long and taper.