Raise your hand if you have been enjoying running and racing?! Now raise your hand if you feel confident in your distance but want to see those finishing times decrease… (I think I see a lot of hands!) Today I wanted to talk about basic speed training for runners and how you can get started in shaving seconds and minutes off your race times. Remember, doing too much too soon can lead to injury, so you’ll want to sprinkle speed training in small doses.
Strides are an effective way to get those fast twist muscle fibers going! To do strides, after you’ve finished one of regular weekly runs, find a flat stretch of ground and accelerate for 10-20 seconds. Gradually decelerate back to a jog and repeat process 4-6 times, with about a minute between repeats to catch your breath. As you incorporate strides into your weekly running, they will become a natural speed maintenance routine!
After you get comfortable with strides, fartlek runs would be your next basic speed training activity to tackle. Fartlek is a fun Swedish word that means speed play. Essentially, you’re going to use your imagination and do intervals of speed play and recovery. Whether you’re on the trail, road, or treadmill, fartlek runs are a basic speed training activity that are enjoyable ways to start getting faster! During your speed interval, you can spot a tree/mailbox/light pole in the distance and sprint or run at a faster pace than you normally would. During your recovery you can practice staying at a steady pace.
3. HILL REPEATS
Next up on our basic speed training workouts list is hill repeats. Before you transition to “formal” track workouts and tempo runs, hill repeats are another way to get stronger, as well as focus on your form. I like to recommend that your hill repeat only lasts 20-60 seconds, with a jog or run back down the hill, on a moderate grade. By keeping the repeats shorter, you’ll be able to do more of them, keep good form, and still get all the benefits that an incline has to offer.
4. TRACK WORKOUTS
In the simplest sense, basic speed training on the track includes 1-2 miles of warm up jogging, 4-6 strides, 2-3 miles worth of intervals at lengths of 200 m to a mile. I will give some specific track workout examples in another post!
Let me know if you have any questions at all!