Up Your Running With Speed Training

Source: Runners World

Source: Runners World

You may have the idea of a PR in an upcoming race or it may even be among your goals for this year, don’t give up. It is doable. Runners are a competitive lot never quite satisfied with the average run, maybe it’s the stuff we’re made of, but somewhere inside there is always the thought of a better run. We go the distance and do whatever it takes to increase our speed and improve performance. With this in mind, it’s been my personal experience, in addition to all the information out there, that incorporating speed work into training for a race could change the dynamics of your racing and help you achieve the results you want.

Speed Workouts are structured workouts that include running specific intervals or time or distance at a specific pace. Research and a lot of coaches agree that it builds endurance, strengthens legs and lung muscles, burns more calories,increases speed, and adds variety to your workouts. I particularly like going to the track to do speedwork as it’s easier on the knees and the distance is already worked in. Here I share a few that I use regularly.


These are timed distances at a specific pace, generally fast, with a slower recovery period. You can incorporate as many reps as you want to maximize your workout but should stick to doing these once per week. Eg. 6 reps of2 mins on, 1 min off at 5k pace.

Interval Runs

Short intense running followed by equal or longer recovery periods. Here the focus is on reaching hard, above your red line or limit so that you’re really counting the minutes until you stop. Recovery takes the form of a jog where you can really regain your strength to go full steam ahead again. Eg. 2 mins hard running, followed by 4 mins of easy jogging.


High intensity workouts that can take the form of super-quick repeats, hill repeats, downhills and ladder workouts. Each of these are short and fast with distances ranging from 40 meters to 200 meters depending on which one you’re doing. Eg. Super-Quick Repeats: 8×200 meters for 30 to 40 seconds each and a recovery time of 2 mins. With Hill Repeats and Downhills the run is on the hill for the distance decided, say 20 yards uphill and 100 meters down x8, varying the intensity of the run on the basis of your max effort-starting at 70%- and a recovery time of 2 mins. With Ladder workouts, you increase the distance after each rep and retrace your steps and work your way back down, decreasing your recovery time after each rep.

The stats on these workouts can change to suit you ability, but no matter which you decide, remember to give yourself time to warm up to avoid injury. Warm up times may vary from 15 mins of running to 2 miles depending on the intensity of the workout.

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