Are you a runner? Are you stuck in a rut? Do you want to improve but don’t know how? Speed work just might be what you need to implement into your running life.
Perhaps you are running the same routes and the same pace every time. This means you are using the same muscles the same way every time. If you expect to run faster in a race, you need to create some muscle memory and stimulate those muscles before competition day. Speed work improves running economy, increases oxygen intake, and breaks up the monotony of training.
Here are some different exercises you can implement into your training regime:
At the Track->
- Straights & curves: Run quickly on the straights and walk out the curves. Repeat 5-10 times.
- Pyramids: Run longer distances and slower speeds working your way up to short sprints. I like to do 2x400m, 2x200m, 4x100m. Once I’ve done this a few times I add on the descending pyramid as well to look like: 2x400m, 2x200m, 4x100m, 2x200m, 2x400m. I walk/run the same distance ratio. For example if I run one lap of 400m I walk 1 lap of 400m.
- Sprints: Especially if you are short for time you can do a set of 100m. Pick your amount- 8 or 10x100m.
On the trail-> Any of the track workouts can be modified to work on the trail. Some other great ones are->
- Strides: accelerate for 15-20 seconds continually picking up speed and then decelerate into a jog.
- Hill repeats: Pick a short hill- sprint up as fast as possible for 15 seconds. Walk back down. 10×15 seconds.
- Hill repeats long: Pick a longer hill. Run at 80% for 3 min. After 3 minutes walk down for 2 min. Repeat. 5 x 3 min.
The possibilities are endless. Remember to engage in a short warm up and cool down for every speed work session.
You can also check out facebook and join a local running club to make new friends and learn some fresh workouts. That’s what got me started on speed work, was joining my local run club group. Get out there and run- and HAVE FUN!