Speed Work

Speed Work

If you intend to participate in a race at any time then it is important that you do some speed work – it isn’t always pleasant but it must be done. There is an old adage: “if you train slow then you will race slow”.  Doing speed work around a track can be boring and soul destroying but you can get  the same benefits from doing speed work off track.

Here are four ways to build up your speed without running in circles:

1.  On The Road

Tarmac is everywhere. And if you race, doing speed work on the road best simulates the impact and conditions you’ll face, but of course you need to be aware that too much running on the roads can end up with injury because of the unforgiving nature of tarmac.

A Typical Session:

Repetition 800m at your target 5k pace  with a 400m jog recovery.

Beginners should do three or four repetitions; more advanced runners can run up to 10 reps. Measure the distance with a GPS or use Google Earth, or run by time (for example, if your 5K pace is 6 minutes per kilometre then your 800m reps should be: 6 minutes (360 seconds) divided by 10 and multiplied by 8: run 4 minutes 30 seconds hard and recover with 3 to 4 minutes jogging.

2. Off Road

Off road running offers better scenery than the roads or track and it is much easier on the legs than the road, plus it improves your balance and coordination.

A Typical Session:

Fartleks: Do this workout on a stretch of gradually ascending path. To build strength, run fast uphill; to increase your turnover, run fast on the downhills, jog for 10 minutes, then go hard (about 10K pace, or a speed that feels moderately hard) for 30 seconds, easy for 30, hard for 60, easy for 30, hard for 90, easy for 30. That’s one set. Perform three to 10 sets.

Fartlek is Swedish for “Speed play” and this is exactly what this session should be – Fun!

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