Runners who participate in races want to run faster. Whether it is a marathon or a 5k, everyone wants to beat their last time if they can’t actually win the race. Here is a great speed training routine that will help any runner improve their overall race time.
Before beginning a speed training routine, it is important to follow some basic safety rules to avoid injury. Always warm up muscles before beginning. Stretching exercises before and after a workout will help muscles retain their flexibility. Utilize cross training with speed training for the best improvement overall.
There are 4 basic types of speed training that can be used. Short speed repetitions are repetitions of running for short distances, such as 100 meters, and running at a pace faster than a 5k pace. Interval training is running slightly longer distances of about 300 meters with a 90 second slow pace between fast runs. One example of this is called a Fartlek. This is when the runner chooses a landmark some distance ahead on their run and increases their pace until that point is reached. The runner then reduces speed to their normal pace until they feel rested and then chooses another object ahead and increases speed again. This process is repeated throughout the length of the run. Repetitions training uses a distance of at least 800 meters with a 90 second slow pace between fast runs. Finally, a tempo threshold workout requires knowing the runner's fastest heart rate. This training requires running for at least 15 minutes at a pace that creates a heart rate of 85% of the fastest heart rate.
Training for speed actually incorporates several different workouts to help the body run faster at an event or race. Here is an example of a week-long speed training workout. On Day 1, you would run 10 short speed repetitions of 100 meters, followed by a 1-mile run at the 5k pace. On Day 2, you'd run 3 miles at the 5k pace or slightly faster. For Day 3, you'd run 3 miles using the Fartlek method of increasing pace throughout the run. Day 4 consists of you running 5 or more miles at a comfortable pace. This should be the longest run of the week. On Day 5, you cross train with another exercise, such as swimming or biking. On Day 6, you'd run a tempo run for 3 miles and on Day 7 you'd rest.
This schedule is for a beginner who can comfortably run at least 5 miles at their normal pace. If this program is followed for three weeks it can then be modified to add distance or increase the number of speed repetitions. When working to improve speed, there should always be a long run during the training as this actually helps the body run faster over short distances. It is also important to rest at least one day per week to allow the body to repair any damage that may have been done during the week. This is just one example of a great speed training routine. A professional trainer can help create a speed training routine for a specific runner.